Weekly Word

Weekly Word

I remember the first time I ever stood in Time’s Square, New York City. It was 1990. I had just experienced an elevator ride to the top of the North tower of the World Trade Center complex. I was on top of the world, as a sixteen year old in the Big Apple. I watched the sights and sounds of the day, caught up in the hustle and bustle of perhaps the biggest crowd I had ever seen in my life. Police on horseback controlled crowds, and every bit of culture, music, noise, conversation and art imaginable seemed to be all around me.

I think of this image, and these memories, as I consider how disciples may have felt at the entrance of Jesus on a donkey into Jerusalem. Crowds pushing, culture and chaos spilling out into every corner, as an itinerant rabbi makes a political statement while entering the city on the lead up to a holy season.  These followers of Jesus must have felt on top of the world, ready to take on tradition, authority, culture and convention, because they were following someone who transformed their lives and brought them love, peace, and life.

I remember standing at the pulpit in January a few years back, crying uncontrollably as I tried to offer words of strength, comfort, and love to a family and a community that were commending a beloved woman to the Holy One. She was a light and inspiration to so many. She was a dear friend.

I recall this memory as I consider the emotions that the disciples and all friends and family of Jesus would have had, during this, the Passion of Jesus during what Christians call Holy Week. It is passionate, it is heart wrenching. Passion at its root is suffering – which comes at great cost to everyone who loves. Those who love, who have been in the place of loss and suffering, may well relate to the emotions and actions that I had that day in January.  

I recollect a powerful conversation of awareness that I had this week. I sat with the daughter of a friend, both of whom have been through immense pain, struggle, and chaos this past year that has changed them, transformed their lives. This young woman recounted how my presence, my ability to ‘keep showing up’ helped them in their recovery, and she expressed her thanks for my friendship and affirmation of her mother. In the day to day life and ministry that I undertake as I serve, I had not considered how my small impact, and my presence had assisted in this way. Though she did not identify as a person of faith, she thanked me for my role as a priest and pastor to them.

These emotions, these feelings, for me, are a part of the journey of Holy Week. They are a part of the Passion, the suffering. This suffering is undertaken by the Holy One, for the sake of all humanity, for you and I, each of us, and the community together, is deeply loved, and deeply worth the commitment of love and faithfulness from the Holy One who creates, redeems, and sustains.

Sing my soul, when hope is sleeping, sing when faith gives way to fears;

sing to melt the ice of sadness, making way for joy through tears.


Sing my soul, when light seems darkest, sing when night refuses rest,

Sing though death should mock the future: what’s to come by God is blessed.

John Bell ©1988 WGWG, The Iona Community.


Peace and love;



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