Journeying through Holy Week

"For the love of God is broader
than the measure of the mind;
and the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more faithful,
we should take him at his word;
and our life would be thanksgiving
for the goodness of the Lord."

--Stanza 3 from There's a wideness in God's mercy
(hymns 469 & 470 in The Hymnal 1982)
Dear Liturgical Ministers,

Greetings to you as we begin our journey through Holy Week today on this cold Palm Sunday. I am so grateful we can be together without pandemic restrictions. It is truly a beautiful thing. In lieu of a full newsletter, I wanted to share a brief reflection with you as we begin our Holy Week Journey.

In my preparations for Holy Week over the last couple of weeks, I've been meditating on the thought of just how incredible the love of God is. We are witnesses of that unfathomable love as we hear the stories of Christ's passion this week. I often find the words of the hymn "There's a wideness in God's mercy" to be a simple and yet beautiful way to give a hint of what our mind's really can't grasp: the height and depth and breadth of the Love of God.

Have you ever had somebody care for you so deeply that it scared you? Maybe you resented it and fought it, not ready to embrace just how loved you were? Maybe you thought you weren't good enough or didn't deserve it? I find myself thinking of that a lot when I try and comprehend God's love for us. Thinking about Christ's example and his passion sometimes stops me in my tracks. I don't deserve such love!

But of course, none of us deserves to be so loved. We didn't earn God's love. And yet, we are all God's beloved. We were created by God's love, formed in the image of God. God's breath filled our lungs the moment we entered this world. And we will some day return that breath back to God. Let that sink in.
From the cross
the arms of Jesus stretch out
like wings
wide, all embracing.
So inclusive are these arms of God
even I am drawn in
I, who chose not to go to Jerusalem.

I hear those words again,
echoing in my soul
"Behold we are going up to Jerusalem!"

My eyes rest on the wood of the cross
So this is where that journey led you!
I suspected as much
that's why I didn't go.

My tightly clenched fists of fear
open just a bit
My mediocre heart
kneels down.
I lay my head into my hands
I weep softly, but not desperately
Love, like this, always makes me nervous.

The face under my mediocrity
peers out at the cross
and I ache because I didn't go.

The face under my mediocrity
peers out at the cross
and I ache
because the perfect love
that casts out fear
is not at home in me.

And yet, those arms of God
those wings of love
keep on encircling me.
I feel incredibly taken in,
accepted, loved.

May this wood of the cross
be my tree of life
leading me to all the Jerusalems
I still must journey.

-- The Journey to Jerusalem
Reflection by Macrina Wiederkehr, from Seasons of Your Heart
May your journey through Holy Week be a sacred one. My prayer for you is that you will pause now and then this week and reflect on just how much you are a beloved child of God, and relish in that love. Perhaps when you hear the story of Christ's passion, that love will wash over you. Or perhaps when you come forward to have your feet washed and wash another's feet, you'll be overwhelmed with God's love. Or maybe at the Easter Vigil when the newly baptized are wet with the water of baptism and sacred chrism is placed on their heads, the presence of God's love will shine clearly in the candlelight.

Let the presence of God's love break down any resentment or fear or sadness that may be present from time to time in your heart. I pray that in feeling that love, you are inspired to extend that love to others you may encounter. May we all be embraced by the wideness of God's love, this week, and always.
Yours in Christ,
Michael Seewer
Cathedral Sacristan & Head Verger
(206) 323-0300 x219