Monday, April 10, 2006
that thorns would flower upon your brow, your sorrows heal our own.
I read a book once that talked about a Jewish rabbi preparing his Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah sermons six months in advance. Such was the degree of importance with which he approached those high holy days. I thought, I wish we had something like that. We do. Easter. Well, if that's the case, why does the lead up to Easter seem like such a burden? It is difficult to get ramped up for it, for me, this year. As I reflect on it more, I begin to see those services and remembrances through which I must go before the glory of Easter can be attained. I remember the pain through which my Lord had to go.
It's hard to get excited about crucifixion.
As the Passion Gospel was read today at the conclusion of the Liturgy of the Palms, I watched as my priest fell to her knees when it was told of the nails being driven home. At first, I thought it was a liturgical gesture, and I, being a faithful sub-deacon, should follow her lead. But then I saw, and I knew it was no mere liturgical gesture. She was brought to her knees by the story, by the foreknowledge of what is to come this week. I was humbled. It's not that the week ahead is a drag, a required thing I must endure. It's not about that so much. Rather, it's the fact that the week ahead is about betrayal, fear, mistrust, torture, humiliation, and death. That's what I am finding hard to face, that's what I'm feeling afraid of.
As a part of Holy Week this year, my final Holy Week as a lay person, I will be giving my confession. I've never done this before and I find I am scared. I'm not sure what I'm scared of, exactly, but the prospect makes me feel afraid. But I know it is something I have to do. I feel called to do. I came across this prayer earlier tonight, and it helped a little bit. So I share it with you now, as we all prepare to enter the hardest few days of the year.
How can I confess to anyone these same old recycled sins?
The sins of this year are
the sins of last year in a different dress.
I intend to amend my life.
I see what my temptations are,
and all the habitual ways I act.
I confess. And then I do it all again.
I am embarrassed.
But I hear your chuckle,
since all sins are the same old sins
in the costume of the moment.
You encourage me to come clean,
and, crazily, to try again.
You offer me the same old forgiveness year by year.
I realize, it is my favorite fashion.
In my experience, confession is something that is never easy. Saying your sins out loud is hard enough, harder still in the presence of a priest. I have found confessing to a priest who is also a friend helps tremendously. Good for you for going there.