Holy Week always brings me deep into the presence of the Holy Mystery, and fills me with words that can be neither written nor spoken, not even to myself. Paul called it a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks, and he was right. I think it was his way of saying that the whole event simply doesn’t make sense to any ordinary way of thinking. Bringing Paul more up to date, we might say that it is a stumbling block to anyone who would force a particular doctrine of salvation on it. Or, for that matter, to anyone who would require a particular way of expressing one’s faith in order to gain salvation. In like manner, it is utter foolishness to anyone who would apply the rules of logic or scientific method to unravel it. It simply won’t yield.
How many honored and much studied theologians have tried? Like Aquinas said, in the end it all comes to straw. Nevertheless, here I am, a sort of modern day Jewish Greek (so to speak), ordained by the church, and expected by those I’m called to teach, to provide The Answer: the explanation that will bring it all together and make it perfectly clear. I am perfectly willing, want to, and try to do just that, but it always eludes me. In the early 1990s a friend gave me a photocopy of Rowan Williams’ then out of print book Resurrection. I read it and reread it again as at last shedding light on my own great questions. It’s back in print, has been for years. I’ve got a couple of copies and have given others away. Reviews have not always been kind. The big complaint is that his theology is far too poetic and never really comes to a tightly and logically drawn conclusion. What other language than poetry could there be?
So, on Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday I will stand before a few expectant people and do what I can to express some small portion of some small understanding of this Holy Mystery, and that’s all about I can hope for.