Easter is approaching and we look forward to the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. But before Easter comes Holy Week. As you know, throughout lent, we’ve been focusing on “24 Hours that Changed the World” – the last day of Jesus’ earthly life. It has been difficult, but fruitful.
Some years, we may be tempted to skip over the pain and the questions and the struggles of Holy Week – Jesus’ last supper, his arrest, his death – and go straight from the excitement of the Palm Sunday parade to the joy of Easter. From glory to greater glory.
But that leaves us with a hollow Easter celebration – happy, perhaps but without spiritual depth. To truly experience the power of the resurrection in our own lives, we must first be willing to walk the hard road with Jesus. We have discovered something of that in our own lives when we realize that very little that is profoundly meaningful has come easily or without a cost to us. And it is true for faith as well.
The truth is, Jesus knew pain and sorrow, fear and death. At the end of his life, he felt alone, abandoned by God. There’s no gettng around it. And that, in itself, is a part of the good news. For Jesus’ story is our story as well.
Emily Dickinson, near the end of her life, wrote this in a letter to a friend:
“When Jesus tells us about his Father, we distrust him. When he shows us his home, we turn away. But when he confides to us that he is ‘acquainted with grief,’ we listen. For that is also an Acquaintance of our own.”
I invite you to walk the whole way with Jesus, by participating in one or both of our Holy Week services. Experience for yourself Jesus’ struggle and pain and know that his triumph over evil, pain, difficulty and death will be yours as well. The powers of death do not hold him and they will not hold us. Difficult times may come our way, but God is always with us. God’s love never fades, never falters. We know the end of the story: Christ is risen, risen indeed.
Thanks be to God