Years ago a friend of mine, torn and tattered, stood in the middle of a church service at Sanctuary (the place I worked at pre-Cate and still in many ways consider a home), threw back his head and cried out to God,
It was one of the most profound moments of prayer I have ever been a part of.
Now I know, some of you will be thinking or even saying out loud, “did Erinn just call that ugly four letter word a prayer?” Yes, I did, because when that little word is not over-used, and depending on the context, it actually carries significant weight. In this situation it was the only word that my friend could think of that summed up the overwhelming agony of a life marked with abuse at the hands of others and his own. It was a guttural cry for help and completely heart wrenching to hear.
There were a lot of people at that service, including those who might consider themselves fairly conservative in their approach to living and use of language. What I recall though is that no one batted an eye. People’s heads were bowed and bodies swayed in recognition as the prayer was uttered. It made sense. When most words would have failed in that moment, this one didn’t.
As we approach Easter, we first must experience the darkness of what the Christian world calls “Holy Week”. On Maundy Thursday people will gather to remember the last Passover feast that Jesus shared with his friends before Good Friday, the day he was killed. Then there is the quiet, solemn lull of the weekend when Jesus lay in the tomb, very much dead. I can imagine that it would have been a time, especially not knowing the rest of the story, that people may have been at a loss for words. They had to wait.
Our waiting is different from those who lived that first week. We are anticipating Easter, except we still live in a world that isn’t as it should be.
I, like my friend, want to cry out.