Waiting for what comes next

It is Wednesday of Holy Week, not a day that usually garners much attention. Some Christian traditions have regarded it as “Spy Wednesday,” since it is the day on which scripture suggests Judas Iscariot determined to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. Others have called it “Silent Wednesday,” alluding to the fact that we don’t really know much about what happened on that day for Jesus and his disciples. It is a day seemingly motionless and without fanfare, a day when we sit waiting for all that comes next.

It feels like we’re doing a lot of that these days: waiting for what comes next, wondering how things will unfold. We watch the war raging on in Ukraine, and wonder how peace will ever come. We witness the horror of another mass shooting in Nashville, six more precious lives lost, and ask ourselves (again) how long our nation will allow such violence to go on. We see all the nervous chatter surrounding the historic indictment of former President Trump and wonder if political violence and turmoil will break out anew. We experience one of the snowiest winters in Minnesota history and wait with increasing impatience for the first glorious signs of spring. And in this post-pandemic season in our churches, we wait for worship attendance to rebound and volunteers to re-appear while wondering what the future might hold for the churches we love.

Waiting is hard. The not knowing is often nerve-wracking and exhausting.

I think about that as I read the sacred texts of this Holy Week. I try to imagine the vibe in Jerusalem during those days, the whispered worry among the disciples and other followers of Jesus, the political maneuverings behind the scenes, the mounting sense of doom and desperation as the days led to the betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion of Jesus. It had to have been grueling. Because they didn’t know then what we know now. As much as Jesus had tried to prepare them and warn them of what was to occur, they were simply waiting, wondering what would possibly come next.

But in our case it is different. We know what came next. We are reminded by our scriptures that after the jubilant procession of Palm Sunday, after all the uncertainty and worrisome waiting of the days that followed, and after all the indignities and horrors and grief of his trial and crucifixion, Jesus rose. The Resurrection surprised the sorrowful and promised astonishing new life.

We do not wait as those without hope. Even in times when the future is uncertain and answers unclear, we wait trusting that God is working feverishly to bring fresh possibility and purpose to our lives and our world. We keep the faith. We hope.

May you know the presence and promise of God in all your waiting. May the hope of the Resurrection be your steady companion. And may the powerful witness of this Holy Week and Easter breathe life and joy into your life and into our life as Church.

Journeying with you in hope,

Reverend Shari Prestemon, Conference Minister

© Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ | 2023