It’s the beginning of April, and we are right in the middle of track season.
You know, I was never athletic as a child, so I never dreamed I’d be organizing my life around sports. It surprises me to say words like that first sentence.
But here we are, in the middle of track season, with a meet just about every week.
Have you ever been to a track meet? They can be a bit hard to sit through, whether you’re a participant or a spectator. Track and Field is a sport that brings together kids with very different strengths and skill sets, and each event shows off a different talent. To a great degree, they don’t overlap at all.
Noah’s event is the 1600. It’s roughly a one-mile run: four times around a 400-meter track. It typically happens near the very end of the meet, which is great for us because we have a really difficult time – impossible, really – getting to a 4:00 meet at Holston Middle or Sullivan North High School. It’s rough on Noah because he has an hour and a half of other events to get through before his event rolls around. By the time the 1600 comes around, the stadium begins to look a little sparse, because a lot of athletes only stick around for their event.
What we try to encourage is that Noah support and cheer on every member of the team, and we model that when we arrive, which is typically only in time for the running events. We miss all the jumping and throwing stuff. We try to show the girls how to cheer for the whole team, too, and sometimes they catch on and help out.
It’s just difficult to be fully present for the whole event.
I have a lot of colleagues who find that to be true during Holy Week. With all the stuff we have going on all the time, it’s difficult to carve out an hour each day to come journey with Jesus through his last days in Jerusalem. A lot of clergy just give up and call it good enough to commemorate Holy Thursday and Good Friday, just to be there for the end of the march.
They don’t want to have a service for only ten people.
Well, I want to encourage you to be fully present for the whole event.
It’s not just good for you and your discipleship to walk the whole journey with Jesus; it’s good for all of us as a church to nurture each other along the way, to hear the old, old stories again. It’s good not just to hear and remember, but to participate in re-living the journey again, being as fully present as we are able, putting ourselves entirely into the story so that it comes vibrantly and even harshly to life through us.
The journey to the cross is hard. It’s harder than sitting through a track meet. But it’s absolutely worthwhile, and I hope you’ll join me next week as we make the pilgrimage again. We’ll gather every evening of Holy Week, from Monday all the way through Holy Thursday and Good Friday. We’ll journey into the darkness together, and rest in uncomfortable uncertainty as the disciples cowered in fear and all creation paused to see what would happen when God was put to death by human cruelty and rejection.
I encourage you to be fully present. It is a transformative experience.
And we are a people in need of transformation.