A Word From the Pastor
As I write we are in the last days before Palm Sunday - the beginning of Holy Week. On Palm Sunday, we begin the arduous journey from Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem, to the cross and grave and tomb. Of course, it culminates with Easter, the celebration of Christ's resurrection.
As Jesus entered Jerusalem and people shouted, "Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." There was no apparent indication that the week that started on such a high note would end in such bitter disappointment. At the end of the week Jesus, who was so alive, had been falsely accused and convicted, rejected, maligned, beaten and abused, flogged, crucified, and his battered body placed in a sealed tomb.
I know by the time you read this you'll be preparing for Easter. Even with the COVIC 19 pandemic, on Easter we think of colorful decorations, baskets of candy, parties and giddy children enjoying it all. What that means is that while we ought to be contemplating the passion of Christ and his suffering, we are immersed for preparation for the celebration.
Resurrection is a big deal no matter who it is, and it has not happened many times. However, when we talk about the resurrection of Jesus it has so much more significance than the resurrection of any other person could have. The reason for this is what was accomplished by the passion and death of Christ.
When Christ went to the cross, he took the full weight of the sins of all humankind upon his shoulders and carried his cross to Calvary. He allowed himself to be nailed to that cross, and die a shameful criminal's death. His body was placed in a grave and left to the processes of nature. The world was darker and colder and more hopeless than ever.
It is in that place of darkness and hopelessness that the heart is prepared for the celebration of Easter. You see when it seemed like things couldn't get any worse than they were, the Son rose! The miracle of the resurrection is truly a miracle because of what preceded it. It is a miracle because of the work that was done in the darkness of his passion and death prior to the resurrection.
Some 2000 years ago, a light shone in the darkness, and the darkness threatened to extinguish it, but it could not! That light still shines. In the celebration of Easter. We bask in the glory of the resurrected Christ. We are humbled by the grace that is provided for us in simple childlike faith in Jesus Christ and his saving work. We are humbled by a wonderful, loving, gracious, and powerful God who would leave the comfort and splendor and glory of heaven to come to earth in human form. We are reminded of the price, God was willing to pay to free us from bondage to sin.
This week we must remember that to "get" Easter we must acknowledge the darkness and hopelessness that precedes it. So, put up your decorations and buy your candy and fill your Easter baskets. However, do not fail to acknowledge and ponder the dark hopelessness that precedes Easter, because we really can't celebrate Easter without taking the journey of Holy Week through the passion of Christ.
See the church holy week schedule and the Thursday and Sunday events that will help position you to celebrate the resurrection of Christ and the gift of God, his passion provides.
Blessings, Pastor Mike