My new name for Holy Week is ‘Struggle Bus Week’; it happens every week before Easter.  I have been preparing for this week since before Lent, before the New Year even. Actually, in my head I start planning before the last of the Easter Lilies die out. The same was true for this year, I planned, I worried, I created, I dreamed, and had great hope that THIS year Holy Week would be “better,” more meaningful, more sacred somehow.

But just like last year, my expectations, of Holy Week worship and prayer events do not live up to my semi perfectionist nature.  This Holy Week was messy, unruly and exhausting. Big fires to put out, little sparks to contend with are all part of a pastor’s life; they just seem amplified when the schedule is rigorous. I’m not complaining, I’m just tired.  The story of Holy week is the narrative beginning with Palm Sunday, and the joyful event of Jesus coming into Jerusalem to overturn the governmental systems of oppression and poverty. On Monday, Jesus is overturning tables of vendors selling indulgences at the temple plaza. By Thursday he is eating his last supper with his dazed and confused friends, one of whom betrays him and another denies him. By Friday, he is condemned and crucified, put to death and entombed.

This week is full of ups and downs coupled with darkness and light. On Thursday, our church had a prayer vigil. By the time service was complete the fire department had shown up, lights, sirens, and firefighters, walking the perimeter, walking though the building, sniffing for gas. All turned out o.k. but it did result in a crying child, an apologizing parishioner, and me giggling at just another story to put in our book.

Then Good Friday happened. I get to church and I’m greeted by a murder scene. Not just one, but multiple. A large ball of feathers coupled with an un-yolked shell, welcomed me at the threshold of the church. Upon further investigation, I found a nest destroyed and several duck eggs chewed to smithereens. Oh dark and sorrowful Good Friday. The day that we mourn death, and think upon our own mortality and the fragility of all living things.
What will Holy Saturday bring? More catastrophes, more death? I imagine death’s sting is lurking around the corner. As for me and my house, we cannot wait until Sunday, Resurrection Day, Easter Morning. We are Easter people, living in the promise that God created us, stayed with us even through death, and lives even now to bring us the promise of new life. My hope is that you make it to church this Sunday, I imagine all the bells and whistles will be out in full force. The day will be joy-filled and beautiful. But don’t stop there, go back the next week, and see how people of faith continue the story into the future!  We all get on the Struggle Bus occasionally. Rest assured God remains with us.

- Noblesville’s Teri Ditslear is a pastor whose column appears Saturdays in The Times. Contact her at, on Facebook or at