"Read It Again!"
One of my godson's favorite books is, "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie." He has just turned four and whenever he crawls on my lap and asks me to read him a book, I know what awaits me at the end of the story, "Read it again, Aunt Beth!" Before he had words, he would sit up in haste and flip back to the first page, as soon as the story was complete. In my mind, it was sometimes baffling that he wanted to hear, yet again, what happened to that same mouse, with that same cookie. It was a simple request, but it made him happy. So I continue to oblige, every time.
This request that is so common among children, is something we would do well to learn from. To return to a story more than once is to trust that the story is doing it's "work" on you. Meaning, as the words seep in, as the characters become familiar, as the impact of a narrative takes root, a small piece of us is changed and shaped by that story. As humans, we are a narrative people. We learn best through the telling of and listening to stories. These stories create meaning, and inform how we articulate our individual stories.
I bring this up because Holy Week is approaching. It is easy to make plans for brunch on Easter morning, and consider that the holiday has been appropriately celebrated. This year, I invite you to prayerfully consider how you might be open to the Passion story disrupting your life. We return to this final week of Jesus' life every year, and painstakingly reenact what unfolded. In the course of a week, you have the opportunity to hear the Passion narrative read to you twice in its entirety, and in small portions at various occasions. The church gives us an excuse to return to the child-like instincts that would have us say, "read it again!" Within the story, between the lines of the text, something will come alive for you in a new way.
As disruptive as Holy Week may be to your daily life, consider the danger of happening upon the cross once it is already empty. To celebrate the resurrection without the passion robs you of the mystery and joy with which we have to grapple. Please pray through the schedule below, and wonder about how you might hear this familiar story yet again, with child-like enthusiasm.