‘Finding the home row’

Although most of my peers learned to type in high school, I took a typing course in eighth grade. One of our neighbors was a typing instructor at the local community college. He bent the rules so I could audit an evening class. As a result I learned to bend my fingers at just the right angle and at just the right position on the keyboard. It was Mr. Hill who introduced me to the “home row.”

Those are the keys on the middle row where you place your fingers (sans thumbs) to find your way around the rest of the keyboard (ASDF JKL;).

Learning the “home row” is the first step in being able to orient yourself to the other letters of the alphabet. It becomes the starting point of spatial perspective. Once you learn the “home row,” it’s not long before you can type away without looking down at the keyboard. In a very real sense, the “home row” is the default setting. It’s the starting point or home base.

For Christians and Jews in our community, this week is the “home row” of the spiritual alphabet. It is a most sacred series of days. Christ-followers are retracing the final days of the Savior’s life that lead from a palm-strewn road to an old rugged cross to a vacated grave. They call it Holy Week!

Our Jewish neighbors are in the midst of an annual festival that recalls supernatural deliverance from Egyptian bondage. It celebrates the night when the death angel “passed over” homes whose thresholds were brushed with the blood of a sacrificial lamb while the Egyptian homes were visited with tragedy. This ancient festival also anticipates the Jews’ exodus from Egypt. It’s a weeklong celebration known as Passover.

For both Christians and Jews, this is a week that reboots the hard drive of their faith perspectives. In a very real sense, both Holy Week and Passover restore believers to their default settings. The historical events being recalled are the starting points that provide the context for what each tradition teaches. Without the “home row” of Holy Week and Passover, it is difficult to understand the rest.

In the case of both Christianity and Judaism, the focus of this week is on inevitable suffering, persistent patience and the inexplicable joy associated with ultimate deliverance. Jesus’ passion and resurrection reminds Christians that life is punctuated by injustice, betrayal, pain and death that eventually finds fulfillment in the life to come. The redemption and exodus from Egypt recalls a similar scenario for my Jewish friends. Slavery and suffering require waiting for the eventual deliverance and promised joy (not to mention promised land) that become a reality.

Why not think of this “home row” on faith’s keyboard using the following acronym for ASDF JKL?

Anticipated sorrow demands faith! Joy knows longsuffering! Those seven words provide a paradigm for more than just this week. They make for a framework by which we understand our lives and respond accordingly.

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