Marking the Moment
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. – Exodus 12:1-2 (NRSV)
The shadows of Lent have almost reached their longest hour. The tension of Holy Week is nearing its climax. The ordinariness of a meal shared between teacher and disciples is about to be broken apart in surreal anguish.
Mark this moment, before all hell breaks loose.
Take in every sensation. Savor every breath. Memorize every face. Feel the strain in your back, the struggle in your spirit, the weary voice in your mind that says, “Oh well, we’ll try again tomorrow.” Notice the sun’s predictable arc through the sky, as though this day is no different than yesterday or tomorrow.
Because this day isn’t any different at all—not in its joys or its sorrows, its routines or its interruptions, its injustices or its triumphs.
Mark this day, take special note of this moment, before all heaven storms earth.
This is just the beginning of the long haul. It will be awful and glorious. Gird your loins. Wait for the sign. Do not linger over the meal. Gather loved ones close. Welcome in the wayfarer too. Light a light for comfort through the chaos.
Remember this day—the ordinary day before everything changes.
Before the unknown unfolds. Before the worst-case scenario steals your breath. Before the wildest hope reveals a path through the raging sea. Before the veil is torn, before the offering is consumed, before the sun disappears, before nothing is ever the same.
Mark this moment. This is the beginning.
I want to be done. I want to lay it all down, to rest, to say “This is as far as I can go” and call it good. But still you call me—into tomorrow, into the unknown. Prepare me, in this moment, for the next.
Rachel Hackenberg serves on the national staff for the United Church of Christ. She is the author of Writing to God and the co-author of Denial Is My Spiritual Practice, among other titles. Her blog is Faith and Water.