I just got back from the doctor’s office. Little Brother (fifteen months) and Sister (2 ½ years) both tested positive for the flu. And just like that, my plans changed.
I have been looking forward to Holy Week and Pascha since, well, since Thomas Sunday last year. Orthodox Christians take the Resurrection pretty seriously. It affects the way we see ourselves, our Church, and our world.
I wanted to process solemnly around the church following the shroud of our Lord. To stand vigil at the tomb in the dark hours of the night. To belt out at the top of my lungs, “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death. And upon those in the tombs, bestowing life!”
Two sick kids is not what I planned.
Then again, the disciples hadn’t planned on Holy Friday either. Peter hadn’t planned on a Lord who washed his feet. John hadn’t planned on a King who hung on a cross. The myrrhbearing women hadn’t planned on anointing the dead body of the man they had abandoned all to follow.
Holy Friday turned their plans upside down.
Yet God had planned it all “before the foundations of the world.” The Prophets had seen and foretold it. All the Scriptures pointed to this very Holy Friday. To God’s plan to restore his people and conquer death.
But only on Pascha (Easter) would those plans make sense to the disciples. Only when they saw the empty tomb. Only when Christ called Mary’s name in the garden. Only when the Lord broke bread with them in Emmaus. Only when Thomas placed his hands in the holes the nails had made.
So today, on Holy Friday, I will not go to church as planned. I will not guide the children in the procession. I will not chant during Jerusalem Matins. I will not prostrate myself before the shroud of the Lord and weep as I kiss his feet. And I am bitterly sad.
Yet, I wonder what Pascha-plan God has for me that I cannot see right now. What unforeseen joy may yet await me.
Will I meet him on the road? Will he call my name in the sickroom?
Will I look into the eyes of my children and see the face of my risen Lord?
May I have the eyes to see.