The end of Lent is near but it's far from over. We've been marinating for nearly 6 weeks. Preparing, steadying ourselves, thinking about the cross. We began almost two months ago by considering... where do I turn when I need comfort? When I have a bad day, what do I want? A smoke? A Snickers bar? A cup of coffee? How can I lean into the pain God is inviting me into, and therefore finally find His arms?
Holy Week is the final stretch, the countdown, but the Cross has just begun. We attended mass at St. Margaret Mary in Omaha today and I found myself captivated by the red, red roses and the red, red fabric on the cross. What does red mean to you? Heart? Passion? Blood? Danger? When I hear red, I think of the Taylor Swift album that got me into and out of a hard, deep attachment. Red is human. Red is us. Red is scary, and striking, a color of a first date, a racy wedding, Valentine's Day, Christmas. It is festive and happy but meaningful and life.
I think of red as the culmination of all we can be. It's the climax. Red on that cross means the libation has been poured. The cup is drank. On Friday, it will be finished. And then our hope will dry up.
Red is also bitterness, and jealousy. When you think of where you bleed love in your life, the wounds that sting and gush and ooze everytime you think of them - red is this fine stitch of where it might just always hurt. Until we put it in the tomb. Red is the bitter hyssop. Red is what makes it real.
I wish everyone had a faith that was real and raw. They would never call our God disconnected or out of touch. When you're unhappy, what are you not giving Jesus? The guilt isn't going to go away and it's not about religion and rules. It's a relationship. It's forgivness waiting for you on the other side of a door you're too scared to open because someone told you that there's judgment on the other side.
No. On the other side of your fear is freedom. On the other side of your wound is newness. Getting over it. Letting go of it. On other side of your belief that you are bad, is the Truth that you are good.
You. You are good. You are not the sum of all your failures. You are the goodness you were born with that you cannot wash, sin, scrub, exfoliate away. You are truth. You are beauty.
This Holy Week, this suffering advocate, His Good Friday is not about your guilt, it is about our worth.
This Holy Week is His pursuit of you. He rides a simple donkey, why? Because it is a symbol of peace. Jesus waves the white flag and says, Ok. I get it. You're upset, you're angry, you won't give it up. You want your sin. So I will surrender. I will come quietly, I will give myself over, hand myself in. I'm the ambassador, and the sacrifice. You can have me. For the miniscule chance that someday, I can have you back. Just in case you change your mind.
God's business... is peace. And though He poured his red, red life out onto your splintered, stiff past, He vanishes what you only see as a cold stone wall and turns it into a clean, crisp entry into another world. Your world. Your home. Where you run and won't grow weary, where you will fall only into His love.
This Holy Week, hold on a little tighter. Use that lean spiritual muscle you've gain to consider your next step. How can you take what you've done every day and use it differently - maybe, ever other day? This red, red Lent has made you a stronger, more graceful human.
Where will you let it take you?