I am so glad we do not live in Maundy Thursday or Good Friday.
I could be more descriptive here about the Holy Week activities I participated in last week, but I will give an overall view of my week, and the week before Christ’s resurrection.
[Palm] Sunday we looked at Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, walking on palm branches and coats which the people shouting for his praise laid on the road before Him. [Spy] Wednesday night, Kirk led the University Ministry through a lectio divina (Divine Reading) of John 13 and we discussed the betrayal of Judas and the confusion of the other disciples. On [Maundy] Thursday I went to FBC’s Tenebrae service where we sat silently while the deacons, choir, and readers led us though communion, betrayal of the rest of the disciples, and Jesus’ death. On [Good] Friday, we sat around a cross together as a church and discussed the feelings the disciples must have felt as they had just watched their friend, teacher, brother, and King die. They did not understand what sacrifice had to be made, though He had tried to explain before. But they were just like us, humans with emotions and imperfect minds-only they did not have the rest of the story like we do. Here I was brought to tears, and moved in a way I have never been before to think about that first gathering of Jesus’ followers after he died. What were they suppose to do now? Where were they to go? The fear and confusion were imminent.
Having, myself, been in a country where we had to hide the fact that our Sunday morning gatherings were really times of worship and reading scripture, I appreciated when Brother Wade brought up The Secret Churches everywhere in the world and had us talk in our small groups about our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted for their faith. We prayed for them, and sometimes did not really know what to say, because they live out their faith so much differently than we do here. They know the risks they take when they proclaim Christ-do we?
Saturday was a day of rest while I watched two of my favorite kiddos-Finn and Paisley, and later that evening I went out with friends and ate a most yummy meal and had a most wonderful time. All the day long, though, I had the events of those last few nights on my mind. I know that Jesus rose up from the dead and walked out of that tomb the next morning, but His disciples and other followers did not. Their Saturday could not have been spent like my Saturday, or any of their previous Sabbaths. They must have been terrified, sad, maybe even angry. I’m sure they felt far away from God and found it hard to worship. But they did not know what would happen the next morning…
Finally, Sunday is here and JESUS IS RISEN! Can you imagine the surprise and shock-maybe some fear, still-when Mary and Mary found that Jesus wasn’t in the tomb but an angel who looked like lightening was there instead?! Holy moly! He showed Himself, not only to Mary and the rest of the disciples, but to many others-proving He was alive. He showed Himself at FBC this Sunday morning when we witnessed 8 baptisms of adults and children. Praise Him!
He is still showing Himself to us today! He is not living on the cross, or in the tomb, but He is living in His Word and in our hearts in which He has given us to know Him. He died once, but He rose for eternity. He took our iniquity and the wrath of God, but He no longer bares the shame. He is alive and whole! He is inviting us into His story that is still going on, for why else would He still be alive?
Living in Easter is living in the life of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. His death was the most important that ever took place, for what He did no one else could have ever done-and it had to be done-and reflecting on that has been needed. But He defeated death, so let us live!
Thank you for life, Jesus!