e-letter 4/19/19

As I read to prepare for this week’s multitude of services, I stumbled across this statement, “[Holy Week] is a week where the part can get lost in the whole.” In the grand sweep of Palm Sunday, Easter Egg hunts, multiple worship opportunities, you, like me, might be lost in the grandeur of the most important week in the Christian calendar. It might feel like religious emotion on steroids — the triumph of Palm Sunday followed directly by the somber longing of Maundy Thursday and the devastation of Good Friday, only to return to joy in Easter. It is so easy to get lost in this sweep and not pause for each moment.

 
 

Yet there are many important parts to this — each important to remember, acknowledge, and live. We have been taking careful steps along this journey of Holy Week, noticing the grace that God offers us each day and in each emotion.

 
 

Today is Good Friday. We are close to Easter — but not there just yet. We are in the midst of the somber remembrance of the lonely, painful devastation of Christ’s death. This remembrance might feel too familiar to those of us who walk in dark, devastating news in our real lives: cancer, financial distress, loss, and grief. I think of so many of you for whom Good Friday just feels like a regular Friday — for whom the suffering somberness of this day is the norm for your life. We can get lost in this part, then, too. Where is the hope of Easter when we suffer?

 
 

The good news, giving Good Friday its name, cannot get lost in the whole of Holy Week, in the busy-ness of this Easter season. Good Friday is a reminder that God is here. Good Friday reminds us that even when we feel alone, abandoned, rejected, and scorned, God is right with us. This is an ultimate sign of God’s love for all of humanity. The God of the Universe has suffered the furthest extent of violence, oppression, and rejection, just so that same God could be present with us as we suffer this reality, too.

 
 

Sunday is just two days away. The most important day of the Christian calendar is Easter, because it is the very good news. The victory of Sunday reminds us that the somber suffering of Good Friday in each of our lives does not have the last word. Death, cancer, loss, violence does not have the last word. We are restored, made new, redeemed. He will be risen, indeed!

 
 

In the midst of your Easter hams, beautiful baskets, and family photos, I hope you’ll join us for our Good Friday service tonight at 6:30pm in the Sanctuary, and one of our Sunday worship opportunities. Both are opportunities to bring a friend or neighbor, and to witness to the Good News that God offers in each of our lives. Tonight, we’ll remember Jesus’s suffering and prepare our hearts to receive the joy of Easter. Then, Sunday, we’ll celebrate that joy and the triumph of Easter. Death does not have the last word — bask in that promise this day, and invite a friend to know this truth, too.

 
 

Don’t get lost in the whole — God is with us. Death will be defeated. We are not alone.

 
 
See you soon,
 

Pastor Allee