Janet Morley called her book of poetry for Lent and Holy Week, ÂThe HeartÂs Time,Â and it truly is.Â Lent and this Holy Week especially invite us to concentrate on what our heart really longs for, needs, desires and craves.Â At the very deepest part of ourselves we long for love and belonging, and at the very deepest part of that deep place we know the love we so urgently seek is more than we can find in another human being.
Holy Week is especially the time for the heart but it is so easy to let it pass by without receiving even a little of what it has to offer.Â Over and over again I see people bypassing the cross of Good Friday and moving to the jollity of Easter Day Â and I say ÂjollityÂ rather than joy because you donÂt get what Easter Day is really about without Good Friday Â you donÂt get the joy of new life in Christ, which is more than anything, the knowledge that God loves you right to the bottom of that deep down place – unless you see that love fully exposed on the cross.
Of course, it is totally understandable, to want to avoid the cross and its horrors.Â We all know the temptation to turn away from bad news stories in the media, particularly those which are full of suffering.Â The cross is utterly horrific.Â No one denies that.Â But the extraordinary thing about Christ crucified is that as you gaze on the figure you are taken to another level, a deeper level.Â You go past the outside and see the point of the whole thing.Â The cross connects heaven and earth in its vertical line.Â The arms of Jesus stretched out on the horizontal beams embrace all the earth.Â Jesus himself is the faithful human one who never turns away from God, who never turns away from us.Â He allows us for the first and only time to see what it might mean to be truly human, as God intended us to be; in perfect loving and trusting relation to him; resting in his care for us.
Jesus is raised on the cross and we are invited to gaze on him to see that which only the heart can see, love made perfect, love that tells us who God is, love that at last rescues us from fear and separation, love that forgives us because it can do no other.
All this Â and so much more – is missed, if we only want the jollity of Easter Day.