He is Risen! He is Risen, indeed! This is the glorious news of our faith and Christian proclamation! This is what sets the Christian tradition apart from other faith traditions. Holy Week mimics the realities of Jesus’ final week but it also mimics the very rhythm of our personal lives. We began the week with hope. Then we were confronted with confusion and uncertainty. Maundy Thursday causes us to remember the times we have been personally betrayed, left alone and despaired. Jesus on the Cross reminds us that our life, indeed our faith, does acknowledge and face suffering and pain face-to-face. And this is the point of Easter.
God became one of us in every way except sin. Jesus knew the fatigue and frustrations of what it meant to work in the family business. Jesus knew what it was like to relate with a bunch of brothers and sisters. He lived in a community rife with gossip and betrayal. He had a close group of women and men friends and some of them stabbed him in the back. Jesus more than likely had headaches like you and me, as well as intestinal bugs like you and me. He knew the grief of what it means to lose a best friend to death. He also physically, emotionally and spiritually endured suffering and humiliation resulting in his death.
The Christian Gospel, however, is that suffering and death are not the last word! Easter is God’s way of saying, “There’s a new Sheriff in town and the rules have been changed and I did it Myself!” Through Jesus, we are given new life the moment we acknowledge and give allegiance to him. We are promised Life beyond this life whereby we celebrate God in the presence of Christ and those brothers and sisters in the faith who have gone before us! This is the distinctiveness of our Christian faith!
He is Risen! He is Risen, indeed! I so look forward to seeing you and the guests you bring this Sunday to worship at our Sunrise 8 a.m. service, or 9:30 Contemporary Service, or at our Traditional service at 11 a.m.!
I am your pastor and friend,