top of page

The 'Hard' of Holy Week

“Blessings on your Holy Week,” I told him.

“This week is so hard for me—everything about it,” he replied shaking his head. “The emotions, the story, my role in all of it. It’s hard.”

Yes, but in A League of Their Own, as Coach Jimmy Dugan says to Catcher Dottie Hinson when she tells him she’s quitting the baseball team because “it just got too hard,” “The hard is what makes it great.”

It’s Holy Wednesday of Holy Week, also known as Spy Wednesday, in observance of Judas’ role in the story of Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, trial, crucifixion, and death. It’s a hard day in the middle of a hard week that comes at the conclusion of a long Lent. But the whole process—the marathon that’s brought us to this hardest mile—is meant to change us like forged metal for great things. And this is greatness: submitting our lives in humble service to the urgently necessary labor of love placed in our hands by Jesus; sacred work that would change the world to reflect God’s kin-dom of justice, mercy, and peace. As Minister Candace Simpson philosophizes, “Heaven is a revolution that must begin here on Earth,” and revolutionary work requires change—hard change.

It’s hard for me to give up things. It’s hard for me to forgive. But do you know what else is hard for me? Being patient. That’s why the prayer labyrinth at the back the church’s property is so daunting to me. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a beautiful space. But taking the time to walk over to it and then enter into it, submitting myself to the pea gravel path that goes one direction, cuts back, winds around, and turns again—it’s challenging.

Reaching the end of the labyrinth appears easy from the outside looking in, but walking it is a different story. So it goes with following Jesus. When the Savior says, “Follow me,” we don’t realize how hard that path of discipleship is until he leads us to an enemy to forgive, an injustice to stand against, a stranger to love, a comfortable piece of ourselves to change. All I want to do is rush to the heavenly center, Jesus. Why do I have to take time on this earthly path? Because the journey is what changes us, and, through us, the world.

William Willimon writes, “We must submit to change if we would be formed into this cruciform faith. We may come singing ‘Just as I Am,’ but we will not stay by being our same old selves. The needs of the world are too great, the suffering and pain too extensive, the lures of the world too seductive for us to begin to change the world unless we are changed, unless conversion of life and morals becomes our pattern.”

For six weeks, we have been about this work of spiritual transformation through Tuesday morning meditations, weekly discussions on the PBS series Broken, midday Lenten meditations, serving at the Brazos Church Pantry and the food distribution ministry at Peace Lutheran Church, daily devotionals from the United Church of Christ’s Bend, Sunday faith formations classes and worship, and our own personal study and prayer. Now, at the last few steps of this faith journey toward Easter when we’re spent, when we’re busy, when we might feel like it’s just too much, this is when we’re called to double down on the hard that makes this life of faith we practice together great.

So, in these final days of Lent, I urge you to find your prayer labyrinth, whatever it may be. It may be hard to visit a place of trauma that your soul is called to overcome. It may be hard to say no to something that you are afraid to leave behind in order to make space for something new and necessary in your life. It may be hard to stand up, speak up, and speak out for justice. It may be hard to risk something big for something good. It may be hard to breathe in patience in a world that demands you to exhale production until your face turns blue. But the hard is what makes it great. Blessings on your Holy Week.


Recent Posts

See All


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page