The Rector's Column

                               If God would not have All,
                               Why tooke He mee?

                               John Donne
                               1572 - 1631

As this month of March unfolds, we will journey through the heart of the poignant season of Lent, and then enter the Week of Weeks that commences with Palm Sunday. Many people find Lent depressing, with its seeming emphasis on penitence, self-denial, and disciplined reflection. Others find the story of Holy Week similarly gloomy, containing, as it does, the tale of the too-frequent foolishness and fearfulness of the human race, the pride and myopia that resulted in the death of the Holy One of God.

It is true that, taken in a certain light, Lent and Holy Week are overwhelming. But only when viewed from a particular perspective; for the deeper truth is that, during the road we will follow these coming weeks, we will experience virtually the entire range of human experience and emotion: for, if we truly enter into the depths and riches of this story, we will know not only cruelty, fear, and jealousy, but also hope, wonder, beauty, and joy. As we progress from Jesus' sojourn in the wilderness to the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, from the Last Supper through the arrest and ridiculous trial, from the awe-full execution to the awe-some resurrection, we will know sorrow and celebration, dereliction and delight, tragedy, and, finally, triumph.

And why? Why do we relive this story each year? Even more, why did the events we commemorate occur in the first place? For the simple reason hinted at by John Donne in the quotation printed above: the simple reason that God wants us all. That God wants us back. That God wants us in that blissful, profoundly joyous life and relationship with God for which we were fashioned and born. That God came among us and to us and even after us in Jesus; and that nothing we have done, nothing we have been, nothing we have become will, ultimately, thwart God from God's plan and purpose and pursuit of the entire human race. Yes, Holy Week and Easter are about human frailty and brokenness. Yes, we come face to face, as we must, with how far we sometimes stray from our true selves and our true calling. But, finally, this story is about love: the love that will not die; the love for each person reading this column and for his or her neighbors and colleagues and foes; the love that is not an emotion but a decision on God's part; the love that will not rest until God "have All."