Word of the Week

Who doesn't like to fast forward?

I think one of the greatest inventions in television is the DVR box that comes with most standard cable subscriptions for an extra $10 or so a month.

With it, no longer do you have to watch commercials you don't like, or any commercials for that matter.

You don't even have to be at home to watch your favorite shows, as long as they are set to record.

And best of all, the days of spousal fights over who controls the remote are over. With the gift of the record feature, both you and your partner can watch what you want-- just maybe not at the same time.

But before I sound too much like an ad for a cable company, hang with me-- a point is coming.

Not only do so many of us have DVR or other recording devices boxes in our homes, but I think there is something about the fast forward feature that has taken over more than just our television remote controls. We live in a world-- in our place of privilege in a country like America-- where we get the luxury to fast forward through parts of our lives that we don't like.

Some parts of life are easy to fast forward through if we just apply ourselves.

Calling ahead for seating at restaurants to avoid the wait at the door.

Filing our taxes online to avoid the wait on April 15th at the post office.

Earning miles or signing up for reward programs with airlines to avoid the wait in the security lines.

Other parts are more difficult.

Sir, we've found a spot of cancer in your lungs.

Miss, we think your child is going to have to repeat the 3rd grade.

No, dear, I just don't think we're ever going to get married.

But regardless of the circumstances rarely do we ever want to sit with annoyance, traffic jams, or life altering news longer than we have to. We have to get on to the next thing. We are ready to get on to the next thing. We want the fast forward button to help us. Sometimes we eat too much, drink too much or sleep too much in an attempt to get there faster.

I think this is the same way that most Christians feel about Holy Week. We want the fast forward feature. Where is it?

We've just experienced the highs of "Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" from Palm Sunday. And if we go to worship on Easter we'll be asked to exclaim, "Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed! hallelujah!" Happy stuff, right?

But what about Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday in between?

Though I'd very much like to fast forward through the hard stuff of holy week: taunting, betrayal, hopelessness, pain, suffering and abandonment, I don't think as Christians that we can. Our story is as much about the hard stuff as it is the joy. And so, this week:

We are asked to sit with Jesus in the upper room when Judas betrays Jesus for some silver coins.

We are asked to stand with Jesus as Peter deigns that he knows Jesus three times.

We are asked with Jesus as he takes the cross to Calvary-- to die upon a trash heap for criminals.

We are asked to observe the pain in Jesus as he cries out to God, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

We are asked to wait with the sobbing women on Saturday as their Lord has died and they have no clue what to do next.

Intense, right? Yet, we can't just fast forward through this emotional journey. We must set aside holy time to live it. There's so much to take in as we go one step at a time.