This week I have been watching, with some amusement, the story of the Ever Given; the skyscraper sized tanker that got stuck in the Suez Canal and held up shipping for days. I saw a meme on social media that read something like “I’ve had bad days at work, but never have I had a day as bad as the guy who got his tanker stuck in the Suez Canal”. It really puts everything into perspective, doesn’t it.
That’s the way of bad days. The awfulness of the day can be dispelled by perspective and hope.
This week is Holy Week. It’s a time marked by a whole lot of highs and lows. We began the week with Palm Sunday and Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Tonight, we will hold our Maundy Thursday worship service; the time when we remember Jesus sharing a meal with his friends, telling the story of his betrayal and his call to all of us to a life of service. And tomorrow is Good Friday. The day with the most unlikely name because it never ‘feels’ good. The day we mark with Jesus’ trial and crucifixion.
From the pure joy of the triumphant parade into Jerusalem to the desperation of condemnation and death in one week. A flurry and a rollercoaster of story and emotion.
A number of my clergy friends have remarked that Good Friday seems almost too much to bear this year. Almost too much to bear because it seems that we’ve been living in the Good Friday of Covid-19 for the last year. A year marked by death, of violence, of racism on a scale we’ve never seen before. A year marked by increasing mental health difficulties, of financial hardship and of the loss of education time and celebration time. A year where our lives have been disrupted, have been lost, and have been changed beyond recognition.
But here’s the thing. We have Good Friday. We are living Good Friday. But it doesn’t change the truth that we also had Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday. And most importantly – Good Friday heralds Easter Sunday. Crucifixion brings Resurrection. Death brings Life. Not like we expected it, but Life, nonetheless.
So while you are feeling stuck in the muck of Good Friday, maybe we can take a few hints as to how to manage it from the Ever Given.
Firstly – just like the Ever Given getting stuck in the Suez Canal; us being stuck in Good Friday is not our fault. I understand that the shifting silt of canal and the impaired vision because of fog significantly contributed to the accident with the ship. There’s something in that that is such a metaphor for our experience, eh! Our whole foundation for living has shifted under our feet in the last year, as has our ability to ‘see’ where we are going and even where we are from moment to moment. Our world has changed beyond recognition. “Getting on with things” and “moving ahead” seems to be an impossible task because, well, we’re stuck. And we can’t see where we’re going.
Secondly, the Ever Given was freed by a whole lot of tugboats, and diggers from all sorts of places. Again, a huge metaphor. We need help to get unstuck. We need all of the people and tools that we can come up with the dig ourselves out. But here’s the key thing – we have to recognize that we’re stuck and then ask for help. The captain of the Ever Given didn’t just sit there allowing the ship to wallow in the muck keeping his fingers crossed that something miraculous would happen and it would magically all be o.k. No, the ship asked for help. From a whole lot of places – and that was the only way it could move on.
Thirdly, as soon as the Ever Given was freed, then all of the ships waiting in the Suez Canal cold also begin to move again. Us being ‘stuck’ holds up a whole lot of people behind us, and as long as we’re unable to move ahead, they can’t either. But the moment we are freed – well they are too.
So this week, if you’re sitting and feeling stuck in the muck of Good Friday, here’s what I want to tell you.
Its not your fault.
Ask for help.
As soon as you’re unstuck then the people around you will be able to move forward too.
Because Easter is coming my friends. The Hope of Resurrection and New Life.
Blessings today and remember you are Loved,
PS: Pics today – the one on the right is the muck at my front step. Clearly I need to sweep!. The one on the left is the muck at the side of my house with ‘Easter’ just beginning to come up (and Karen and Murray’s musical lawn people hiding the vent to my gas fireplace).