‘God’s Surprise for Me’

The Rt. Rev. George Wayne Smith, Bishop of Missouri, discusses how he is surprised by Holy Week:

Holy Week is, every year, a time of spiritual renewal for me. As the liturgy says, it makes it possible for us to enter into the passion of Christ’s death and the mystery of his resurrection and yes, to follow in the steps of Jesus. I try to reflect on those things, and to prepare myself to be surprised.

For me, that is something that I encounter almost every Holy Week. It will come at a different point every year. Sometimes, it’s during the foot washing on Maundy Thursday. Often, it’s during the Good Friday service. People who know me, and this is part of my, shall we say, eccentricity, the Great Vigil of Easter is my favorite service of the whole year. Simply to sit in darkness and hear the reading of the Old Testament scriptures that seem like they’re never going to end, to let the Scriptures overwhelm my awareness even to the point of boredom.

Also, I will almost every year, I hear something that I do not expect in the readings, or something that I’ve never heard before. I will think, “I didn’t notice that in the Scripture.” Understand, that I will have read that piece of Scripture dozens of times in the course of my lifetime, but there it is. God’s surprise for me, this time around.

Listen to the rest on the Diocese of Missouri’s podcast, Jesus Hacked.


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