We all know that life is a process through which we go. Nowadays, “processing” has become an easy buzz word for “I’m still trying to figure that out.” Like, “Yea, yea, yea, you’ve told me that and a hundred things already…I’m processing it,” or “I’m going to have to process this conversation before getting back to you.”
We have been “processing” a lot of things through this season of Lent, and every Lenten season. It is a path we have been down before. We know the story. We know what happened Friday, and we know what happens on Sunday.
Can you imagine the processing that went on during Holy Week itself? The accounts of the Passion from the Gospels recall the story of Holy Week as first seen and experienced by the disciples. While we have had 40 days to process Christ’s journey to the cross, the disciples barely had a day. Think about it…
Just on Sunday, they were celebrating Jesus as a king with a ceremonial parade. Before they can process what happened, they realize that Jesus is being sought for arrest. Before they can process that, they sneak off to dinner with Jesus and find out it will be the LAST with him. Before they can process that, Jesus breaks bread and pours wine, telling them, “This is my body and blood!” Talk about something to process! Christians have been processing that one for centuries, and still don’t agree on it. Then, Jesus bends down to wash their feet. Then before they’ve processed either of the dinner surprises, Jesus says one of them will betray him. And he tops it off by foretelling his death.
In one night, the disciples understanding of what is happening is shattered. They sleep on it…or maybe they don’t, and before they’ve fully processed all that happened, we find Judas betraying Jesus, Peter denying Jesus, and the other disciples fleeing. How else would they respond? They just don’t know what to do. They had barely processed the facts of what was happening, let alone processing their feelings on it. And for Jesus then to be arrested, tried, convicted, flogged, mocked, and killed within one day?
As you review and reflect on the Passion story you have heard this week, let yourself process the events andprocess your feelings before Sunday comes. You’ve heard the story before. You know what will happen. You know the celebration that comes on Sunday. But wait. Before you leave the tragedy of Friday, use Saturday to let yourself see the story playing out in your mind, hear the noises, smell the odors, feel the tension. Process the story in a way you’ve never heard or felt it before. Amen.