– from Reverend Shari Prestemon, Conference Minister
This Time In Between
It is Wednesday of Holy Week, not a day in this holiest of weeks that 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. But for most of us in the mainline Protestant tradition this moment is simply one of those nondescript days between the jubilation of Palm Sunday and the betrayal, crucifixion, and joy of all that would come after it. It is a day seemingly motionless and without fanfare, a day when we sit waiting for all that comes next. We are “in between”.
I was talking recently with a UCC clergy friend who is a member of the Ferguson Commission, the group charged with charting a new path of healing and constructive change for the St. Louis region in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death last August. When I asked him how the work of the Commission was proceeding, he said, “It’s really going to depend on the next month.” And he went on to tell me of all the projects and study and dialogue that would unfold in this next little while that would determine their work moving forward. The Commission, it seems, is in a very important “in between” place.
It feels a bit like we in the Church are in that perplexing but promising “in between” place too… not just on this Wednesday of Holy Week but in a much broader sense of time. We sense something ahead of us that is radically different than what has been before. We know in our guts that heady, massive change is beckoning to us from the future. Yet we’re not sure what that future looks like or exactly how we might be newly challenged to live and breathe as Church. We can scarcely imagine what God has in store for us.
Yet we who live by faith and claim the Holy Week narrative as our own living story do know this much: abundant new life lies ahead. The Resurrection is where we’re headed. And this time in between? However uncertain the path or uneasy our hearts, this is not a time to sit idly by. This is the time for determined faithfulness and sincere discernment, a time to move forward in the confidence that God goes before us and has abundant new life awaiting us.
May you know the presence and promise of God in all these “in between” days. And may the powerful witness of this Holy Week and Easter breathe life and hope into all we do as Church.
Grace and peace,
Reverend Shari Prestemon, Conference Minister