Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Holy Week musings

Lt Col Elizabeth Coble
(aka my little sister)
Over the past week I have done quite a bit of driving.  When I left home I had a plan in place - a destination and a time line.  I knew where I needed to be when so that I could meet up with my sister who was finally coming home after 20 months of deployment in Afghanistan.

Sadly, the US Army and I didn't coordinate things very well, and I found myself with a few extra days on my hands.  So, I looked for a place in the hills of southeast Tennessee to have a mini-retreat.  I was on vacation after all.  The kind folks at Beersheba Springs Assembly United Methodist Camp provided wonderful accommodations, and the weather and scenery couldn't have been more beautiful.
the chapel, Beersheba Springs
Assembly UM camp

As I packed the vehicle Monday morning to continue my journey to meet up with Liz in the Atlanta area a 2nd email came, saying that she wouldn't arrive until Thursday.  But wait!  My flight out of Atlanta is for Wednesday!  grrrr... another change of plans...another detour...another readjustment in expectations.

It's not the end of the world, I keep reminding myself.  It is just going to be different from what I had envisioned.  (I say this as two friends from seminary sit in a hospital room in Iowa City with their 8 year old son who had major surgery a couple of weeks ago.  I have NOTHING to complain about in comparison to the burdens they are dealing with right now.  Please pray for Drew and his parents Jaye and Amy Johnson, and sister Allie.)

I took advantage of the extra time to go to lunch at one of my favorite places in Atlanta, Mary Mac's, and I took in some of the sights of the city before heading to my hotel.  I had a quiet evening, finished up some reading and watched the end of the basketball game.  But it still wasn't what I had planned or prepared for...sigh.

In the midst of Holy Week, as I prepare for the worship services ahead and the range of emotions that come with The Last Supper, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I can really empathize with the disciples.

Tuesday of Holy Week is traditionally when we remember Jesus' heated encounter with the temple authorities.  From the triumphant welcome of Jesus and his disciples on Palm Sunday to the shouting match with the pharisees (see Matthew 21 and Mark 11) the whole mood of the city changed in that instant and it wasn't pretty.  I can hear the 12 muttering under their breath, "What next?  Where is he taking us now?  What are we supposed to learn from this?"

As I meditate on the events of Jesus' last days on earth, I can see that normal is relative, that we are at our best AND our worst when plans change.

It is my prayer this day that I can find a way to let go of my expectations for everything to be 'just so' and embrace changes in plans as part of a grand adventure.  I know in my head that God is in the midst of things - now I need to be especially vigilant to see Him along the edges.  Let it be so, dear Lord, let it be so.

in Christ, together,

I came across this quote from Mother Teresa while at Beersheba Springs Assembly, it seems especially appropriate for Holy Week.

It is necessary that we find God, 
and God cannot be found in noise and unpeace.... 
See how Nature--trees, flowers and grass--grow in stillness; 
how stars, moon and sun run their course in silence. 
The more we receive through quiet prayer, 
the more we can give in the activity of our daily lives. 
In essence, it is not what we say, 
but what God says to us and through us. 
All our words are useless if they do not come from within. 
Words that do not carry the light of Christ only increase the darkness.

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