Holy Week is a crazy time in the life of a church with extra worship services during the week and preparations for big Easter Sunday celebrations. I know that it is easy enough to get wrapped up in all of the “to-do’s” and to feel rushed during these crazy weeks. During Holy Week of this year, I had an interesting encounter that called me to slow down and to remember the gifts of the week.
On Maundy Thursday morning I officiated at a funeral. As we left the funeral home to head toward the cemetary we began creeping along at funeral procession pace. It wasn’t long before I was struck by something that I saw up ahead. There were cars, facing toward us, that had pulled over to the side of the road while the procession passed. I’ve done a number of funerals in the Chicago area over the last 5 years and this was the first time I remember actually seeing cars pull over out of respect for the deceased. I was touched and inspired; I told myself that I wanted to make sure I took the time to slow down and stop the next time I saw a funeral procession approaching.
On Good Friday morning I decided that I was going to run out to the hospital to visit someone before our worship service at noon. I knew that time was going to be tight, but that if I could get down to the hospital, spend some time with the person I was visiting, have a prayer, and head back, that I’d have plenty of time. I hopped in the car, pulled out of the parking lot, and then I saw it, a funeral procession coming toward me. I looked at the clock, knew that I’d be rushed for time, but I pulled over to the side of the road to let them pass nonetheless. As they passed I thought about my life, about how grateful I am for all of the blessings, about what a gift each and every day is.
And I made it to the hospital and back to the church in plenty of time for worship, thankful for the opportunity that I had that morning to pause and reflect upon life.