I am writing this week’s column on the first day of Holy Week. There is a lot yet to come. There is the betrayal of Thursday night – and the trial through the night and into Friday morning). On Friday, we remember Jesus’ crucifixion and death. It’s very important we not skip over these parts of Jesus’ story. As much as we might want to jump ahead to the joy of Easter morning, we must also remember the events that led to it.
As Christians, we certainly need to understand the incredible power of death and evil. We can never bury our heads in the sand and pretend they’re not there. The gift of the church to the world is not an appreciation for the power of death, but rather the power of the Risen Christ to transform death and evil into something new and beautiful.
One of the reasons getting that message across to the world is so difficult is that death and evil abound in such loud and obvious ways. Just this morning I heard about deadly terrorist bombings in Moscow and the arrests of potential domestic terrorists in Detroit. Evil blares and blazes. Resurrection whispers.
It’s like a wildflower blooming in the midst of a burned out forest. We must constantly search for signs of it. Or, as the Psalmist enjoined, “Be still and know that I am God.”
The world already understands the power of death. The job of the Church is to trumpet resurrection from the rooftops loudly and proudly and boldly. Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and all the powers of death and hell cannot prevail against him!
This Holy Week we will solemnly remember Jesus final week in Jerusalem. We will remember his last supper with his disciples, Judas’ betrayal, and finally, Jesus’ death. But on Easter we will revel in the new life and joy that pushes aside darkness and death. We will baptize believers into Christ’s life. We will smell the fresh scent of lilies, lift our hearts in prayer, and celebrate and praise God for Christ’s resurrection (and our own!). The world is filled with darkness and death. Come and celebrate life, love and joy. Come and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord!