Facebook will not let me forget certain things that are best forgotten. Many people I know "purge" their Facebook friends, getting rid of those people that they didn't really talk to that much when they were physically around each other. I wonder if I've ever been "purged." I don't do that, so I constantly see photos that remind me the past isn't exactly the past as I remember it.
A week ago, a family friend posted a picture of me, my brothers, and our friends on Easter morning. It must have been from about 1982. I have had an image in my mind of that moment for all these years; of the exact moment this picture was taken. That image was dramatically altered when I saw this posted picture.
The image in my mind was of me looking at my Easter basket, of my brothers and friends also looking on with awe and jealousy at my amazing basket - full of fancy chocolates and toys. In my mind we were well dressed, and my parents were just as excited about the baskets as we were. Everyone was beautiful and giggly. It's a nice image, isn't it? The picture wasn't like that at all. It was early in the morning. All the kids were giggly, but the adults looked like characters in an early 80's zombie movie. Not one person, not my mom or anyone else, even looked at my basket. Our living room was decorated in late 70's patterns that I had forgotten, and my basket looked a little skimpy. Why did Facebook have to go and ruin a perfectly good memory?
We all romanticize the past. Each time I remember an event, a story, or a memory, I emphasize the good memories, and the less pleasing memories melt away. It burns itself a bit deeper, and becomes a little more of who I am. Just as I remember that Easter morning the way I wanted it to happen, we often remember the story of Jesus in a way that is pleasing to our memory. We see pictures of Baby Jesus in the manger. We see pictures of Jesus doing the miraculous, enshrined in rays of light, with a halo and angels all around. That's why Holy Week is so important.
If it weren't for Holy Week, we would skip over the uncomfortable parts. We would skip over the parts that don't fit our idea of how the story should go. The Bible is the most uncomfortable book I know, and it reaches a universe-rattling tension during Holy Week. No other story has caused such strife. No other story is full of such hope.
There is amazing wisdom in the retelling, the reliving, the remembering, the re-journeying of Holy Week. I hope that I can recall the last week of the Son of God as it truly was. Maybe in this remembering, the story can become a fresh reality for us all.
- Dr. Brad Green