He is risen! Now is the time to rejoice and celebrate. Although it might seem a little strange today, to attempt a celebration of victory over death when everyone is isolated in their own homes, for fear of a deadly virus. Church gatherings are replaced with individuals streaming at home. Family dinners are reduced to lonely leftovers. Laughter of the kids in their new Easter clothes hunting for eggs now looks like antsy children in their pjs, bored with the at-home schedule just like yesterday.
Saturday is the pause between the dark pain of Good Friday and the bright joy of the resurrection. Hazy shadows stand between Friday and Sunday, between night and morning, between despair and comfort. Saturday may be the most overlooked devotional opportunity of Holy Week, possibly because it is the unrealized in-between.
“My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” This cry of Jesus sounds from the cross before he gives up his spirit. The darkness deepens, the Light of the world falls silent. Tonight on this Good Friday, we will ponder the death, the good death, of our Lord and Savior.
Why is this night different from all other nights? Traditionally, the youngest child at the dinner table would ask this question as part of the Passover meal. This meal brought to remembrance the great acts of God for His people Israel, delivering them from slavery in Egypt so long ago. Rightly called the Passover, because the angel of the Lord passed over the homes of God’s people which were marked with the blood of a lamb. They were saved from the final plague that brought death over the land. So every year after, God’s people celebrated, ate and drank, remembered their gift of salvation.
Jesus rides into Jerusalem, the crowds go wild! How do we get from this exciting praise and gathering of crowds to his death on a lonely isolated cross only a short time later? Today is a time of worship that explores the spectrum of our emotions engaging in this great gospel story of Jesus Christ. In preparation for the Easter celebration coming up next week, take a minute to contemplate the journey from the Palms to the Cross.
I’ve recently begun practicing something new when my family gathers together at the dinner table – yep, we still use the dinner table! This practice, however, is something contrary to the so-called “old, traditional male thingy,” but I’m confident I’m doing the right thing. For some this idea may seem novel, for others you may already be doing this whether you realize it or not. But it’s something I’ve intentionally sought to practice.
There are moments when the things my children say take me totally off guard. Listening to the sweet little voices coming from their young mouths yet hearing something totally unexpected and shocking. Most of these times it gives me opportunity to reflect on my parenting and try to discover where they learned such a thing. Sometimes we all need a little gut-check upon realizing how our children are piecing together the world. For me, today was that very occasion.
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