Easter is coming.
We tell ourselves this on days when morning breaks with news of another massacre. We remind ourselves of this when the darkness is heavy and fear grips us by the throat.
Easter is coming. We feel the ache in our bones, the yearning for resurrection, for the world to be renewed, and for all to be set right.
Yet it is tempting to rush ahead to resurrection. My bishop in the Anglican Church of North America, Ken Ross, wrote to the clergy under his care earlier this week on the importance of Holy Week:
I am praying that this week is not about recollection, but about participation in these holy mysteries. This week has such value — there are no shortcuts to the resurrection: we have to go through the cross.
We have to ‘go through the cross’.
This is why Holy Week matters. Holy Week is a chance for us to enter the Jesus Story in all its fullness.
One way to enter the story is to find ourselves in the characters of the drama. Bishop Ken offered an example of this in his email with a brief reflection on how we are all Judas:
Two Sundays ago I was preaching about Mary anointing Jesus in John 12:1-8 and I was struck by two things. The first is that John places this event right before the Triumphal Entry— Jesus enters Jerusalem as the King who has already been anointed for His burial. It also struck me as odd that Jesus put a thief in charge of the money. It is not that Jesus didn’t know Judas and his character (John 6:70-71). But isn’t the glory of God shown in how He entrusts His treasures to thieves? We are all born thieves; you could say that we come by it naturally. In our rebellion in Genesis 3 we try to grasp what is not ours to grasp — and from that point forward we are born as thieves who grasp. What we see in Judas is what we see in all of us – even after we are rescued by Jesus and made children of God, new creations, sons and daughters of the King of kings, we will not be free of grasping till we arrive in Heaven. His glory is shown in how He entrusts His treasure to thieves, in how He entrusts His treasure to us. [You can listen to Bishop Ken’s sermon HERE.]
Perhaps the most powerful way to enter the story is to find our life caught up in Jesus. In remembering His agony and grief, we are able to give voice to our pain, knowing that Christ weeps with us. His cries on the cross become our cries. We are no longer alone in our suffering. This world, aching with grief, trembling with fear, can find a deep solace in the crucified God– the God who entered into our pain and shared our suffering.
When we locate our suffering in Christ’s suffering, we do not merely give voice to our grief; we also discover our hope: suffering will not be the end. The Story of the World does not end on Good Friday. For all who are in Christ, and for the cosmos itself, there will be resurrection.
At our Good Friday service at New Life Church, we will offer brief reflections on Judas, Peter, and the Centurion in the story. We will take time to recognize ourselves in them.
But above all, we will find ourselves in Christ and give thanks for His sacrifice.
We will glory in the cross.
Join us as we journey with Jesus to the cross…and on to the empty tomb.
Easter is coming.