Sometimes God has fun with me. Today was one of those days.
I went to a local farm with extended family. My girls had fun with some lovely little bunnies all white and Easterish. After a while I walked around a bit and saw a large Orthodox Jewish family gathering around some lambs in a field. Seeing them, I was glad—this year is one of those rare years when Passover unfolds during the Christian Holy Week, and Holy Week itself is shared by both Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Catholic and Protestant) Christians.
So here was the scene: my kids playing with Easter bunnies. Orthodox Jews looking at lambs (perhaps for use during the Haggadah?). One of the little girls in that family shouting toward her father (I’m not making this up) “Abba!” I was overjoyed.
I am usually one to try to enter Holy Week with the proper “composition of place” as Ignatius called it—that imaginative space carved out for the sake of entering fully into the story of the Passion. These are dark days. But today, I am happy. I am writing this on what is known in the English-speaking world as “Maundy Thursday,” the adjective derived from the Latin mandatum or command—the one Jesus gave to his disciples near the end, that they must love one another as Christ loved them. (It’s the command we most easily ignore.) Today, thinking about this harmony of calendars and these ways our faith communities reach out to remember what God has done, I have hope.