The Profound Mixture of Holy Week

This reflection was written by Principal Jesse Zink for this week’s Wingèd Ox, a weekly news digest distributed to the college community. You will find reflections from previous weeks here.

We have entered Holy Week.

I have been reading the gospel of Mark during Lent, the whole gospel, start to finish. It is not “giving up something for Lent.” It has been and continues to be a special treat (and, by the way, I am not giving up anything this Lent!). I love all the gospels, but I am particularly partial to Mark. Less stories but more detail, more to capture our spiritual imaginations.

A problem with our liturgical year is that it gives us only a week to get from Palm Sunday to Easter, thus making a huge narrative leap from the Palm Parade to the final supper. And we skip so many of the stories in-between.

Mark, as you know spends a lot of time after the Palm parade with Jesus in or just outside the city of Jerusalem. In this liminal space so much takes place – fear, threat, anger, plotting, destruction. But this space is also filled with beauty and wonder: Jesus’ joy at meeting a religious leaders who completely understands his vision, his awe at a generous gift, his evenings at Bethany with beloved friends. The week is a profound mixture.

This week you will you rest and pray and read and write and get things done, and so much more. I hope there will be moments when you can go deeply into reflection and prayer. I hope also that you will experience the beauty of life in full colour, as Jesus did. Life that moves in-between birth and death and rebirth.

A prayer for Holy Week

God, in this in-between space
give me a breath from somewhere deep and strong.
Help me notice what is going on in me and around me.
Clear my head when I am confused.
Reassure me. Stay close.

When my body tells me I’m tired,
Let me give myself a break.
When it says “Hungry,”  chocolate will do well.
When it’s saying,  “Lonely, call a friend!” let me.

When doubts or impatience arise in the accumulation of small difficulties that sap my strength,
Give me self-compassion!

When my anger is a blazing sign of a broken world,
Give me courage.

Give me a breath, O God, from somewhere deeper and stronger.
Help me hear what the Spirit says. And follow
Where it leads. Amen