Holy Week: Walk Together, Talk Together

This year’s Holy Week looks and feels different.

Vyasa-Puja and Gaura-Purnima

On Monday night, we celebrated Fred’s guru’s Vyasa-puja with dear friends. The Hindus sang Sanskrit songs of awe and reverence to their guru. I hummed and swayed to the beat, envisioning my guru, Christ, whose Passion we remember this week.

As the ancient words and tunes washed over and through me, and I realized that Fred and I have become comfortable with the blurry lines of a Christian-Hindu interfaith marriage. We love the messy borders—including our non-traditional Holy Week—because our focus on God remains laser sharp.

Awakening: Walk Together, Talk Together 

On Palm Sunday, the Binkley Baptist Church choir sang the traditional spiritual, “Walk Together Children.”

Walk together children, don’t you get weary / Walk together children, don’t you get weary / Oh, talk together children, don’t you get weary / There’s a great camp meeting in the promised land 

Interfaith_Altar_Holy_Week
Our home altar at Holy Week: an icon of Christ, photos of Gaura-Nitai and Radha-Krishna deities, and Palm Sunday leaves.

When we talk about modern day awakenings in Christianity, we are usually praying for our declining mainline Protestant churches to “awaken” and reorient to something new. We long for an infusion of energy, youth, and vigor. We want folks back in church–eager to worship God, connect with one another, and cultivate strong communities.

But sometimes the first awakening has to come from within. Like planting seeds in the Lenten darkness–we must reconnect with ourselves, God, and others.

My Lenten 2013 awakening has revealed that true grace, mercy, and joy comes from walking together. We all have been given divine gifts of friendships and community. Our families, friends, neighbors, work colleagues, and strangers all share the journey of being beloved Creations. But sometimes we isolate ourselves and our faith walks, as if we have nothing in common. We imagine others’ perspectives of God to be too far off the beaten path from what we’ve come to believe as true.

Called to Love  

What would happen if this Holy Week—and every week—we walked and talked together in holy friendship and love? What if we blurred the edges a little from the same old, same old and got to know someone for whom faith looks very different? If we did, may be surprised to find ourselves growing closer to God in ways we didn’t imagine were possible. We may also be surprised to find a great awakening in ourselves and in the Church–a glimpse of “that great camp meeting in the Promised Land.” 

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

–John 13: 34-35, NRSV

If we’re doing our Lenten jobs, Holy Week should look and feel different each year. If we’ve walked and talked together on the pre-Easter journey, we’ll arrive at Holy Week a little more formed, stretched, and loved than we were last year.

 


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