It’s not surprising that there are so many books available on the life and times of Jesus the Christ covering His birth, ministry, death and resurrection . And it is not surprising that these books do not exhaust the topic. I pray that over this Holy Week you will deepen your relationship with God and grow in your understanding of His Grace.
This Easter I want to focus on the fact that the whole story of Easter must be celebrated and understood in the context of the resurrection, but that every step leads to resurrection. Unless we grow in our understanding of the events that led up to the Resurrection, we won’t understand it.
We must be aware that for Jesus and the Disciples, Easter wasn’t a week interspersed with a number of longer than usual church services, it was one long journey – and ordeal… We have tried to keep that in our minds as we celebrate the” Triduum” from Maundy Thursday through Good Friday and into the Easter Vigil. What we call the Foot washing service, Good Friday and the Lighting of the Fire on Holy Saturday. It is really one continuous event. As we break this down, we will deal with each step of the journey that Jesus took to the Tomb and the stone that rolled away.
Each service will be about God preparing your heart to be transformed by His love and sacrifice and the “Stone being rolled away.”
I pray that you will experience “the full extent of Jesus love – as He washes your feet… through the hands of others.
I pray that you will experience the depth of His love as His hands which flung stars into space, are to cruel nails surrendered.”
I pray that you will recognize yourself in each character portrayed in the Narrative and see how God is continually calling you closer, showing you His love encouraging you and giving His all for you.
Very often Easter can slip into a morbid and gruesome remembrance of Jesus physical suffering, and it is important that we know that there was indeed a great amount of suffering, but this suffering was not a loss nor a defeat that was overcome on Sunday at the resurrection. It was in this very death and embracing humanity at its worst that Jesus won the battle. The Triduum isn’t something that must merely be endured to get too the joy of the Easter Resurrection! Each action, each event, each part of the journey is Jesus winning. He wins when He reorders the Passover meal, He wins when He faces up to the challenge in the Garden on the mount of olives, He wins when He stands trial and is declared to be without fault by Pontius Pilate, He wins when He carries His cross, He wins when Simon carries it for him, he winds when he speaks from the cross forgiving sin and glorifying God, he wins when he breaths His last, He wins when He is laid in the tomb. HE wins when He is resurrected!
How can that be, suffering is not winning, death is a defeat, the cross is an instrument of torture and shame, how can it be a win? Because when Jesus eats the Passover He is showing His love, when He washes their feet He is showing His love, when He prays in the garden He is showing His love, when He accepts arrest He is showing His love when He accepts condemnation He is showing His love, when He spreads out His hands He is showing us love, when He speaks seven times from the cross He is showing His love and when He breathes His last He is showing His love, and love wins. The cycle of violence and retribution is ended, the patter of vicious power and peace through fear is ended. Jesus has won the victory.
On Wednesday the Clergy all renew their ordination promises and commit to serving God through His Church. On Saturday we will all renew our Baptismal promises and recommit to serving God. I pray that you will do so with the intent to Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength.
So let us learn how to love and how to serve and how to reorder our lives that we may be effective in our witness to God and give ourselves as living sacrifices as we profess to do.
Whose feet do you need to wash?
Whose betrayal do you need to forgive?
What do you need to re-prioritize in your life, to receive the resurrection and live for Jesus?
Easter is a time of renewal may you experience it in all its fullness,
A blessed Easter to you!