Holy week triggers

Every year during Holy Week I try and find ways (not always successfully) of issuing a trigger warning. That’s because the Biblical stories of Jesus’ arrest and trial includes horrific and brutal scenes–unspeakable torture and terror. Those of us haunted by the realities of violence, in varying ways and to varying degrees, are often especially triggered by these scenes.  “Tread carefully,” I tell myself (and other clergy) year after year. 

Holy Week trigger warnings seem especially important this year when many of us have the murder trial of Derek Chauvin on our minds. (Let’s please not call it the murder trial of George Floyd–as if Floyd is the one on trial). The trial is both terrible and important to witness, especially as a white person. (People of color in this country experience and witness these terrible, threatening, life-ending realities more often than any white person can even imagine, and so watching this trial may be too traumatizing for people of color.)  The sounds, the shouts, the sirens, the panicked 9-1-1 calls of that terrible day, coupled with the scenes of the courtroom–the testimonies, the defense, newly released body cam footage, and the anticipation and aftermath of a verdict–it’s a lot to think about for Christians any week, but perhaps especially Holy Week.

So along with issuing this trigger notice, I want to issue this word of hope: This Holy week I hope and pray that those of us who identify as Christians will learn better ways of existing in spaces of trauma. And I hope anyone who attends a Good Friday service will not be subjected to the glorification of suffering, but instead will be brought into a grace that meets us in all of our sufferings, helping us to rise. May God’s unending love meet us all, whatever this week brings. 

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