Everyone is up in arms in some way. We all probably have friends on every side who have dug in their heals, marked out their enemy, and are hunkered down at war. Over what? Over whether this whole thing is a hoax or the Black Plague. Or we are up in arms about our neighbor biking without his mask or the government conspiring to rob us of all our rights. I get it.
Every year on the Sunday after Easter, we read from John chapter 20 and hear again the appearance of our resurrected Lord to His disciples. Every year, whether it is in the midst of a pandemic and you are watching church from your living room or you are sitting in church with your family, we get caught up in the story of doubting Thomas and his desire to poke around in the holes of Jesus’ hands. It is a powerful text, from which we get perhaps the greatest confession of faith ever spoken.
Many have lamented the fact that Easter has fallen during this global pandemic. Plans have been ruined, celebrations are cancelled, and reunions get pushed off to a later date. I do not get to preach to your faces and miss seeing the reactions, the smiles, the tears, and the confusion at times, as I proclaim the Word of God.
As I began preparing for Holy Week, I was surprised as to how unholy it felt. Between rushing to fill our social media presence with content, incessantly reading the news, and figuring out when it is a good time to buy groceries, I have not been fasting, watching ‘the Passion of the Christ’ or even drooling at Cadbury eggs. This damn pandemic has really ruined Easter!
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By Paul Koch –
Today is the celebration of the pinnacle event in all human history. Today we rejoice in the great working of God who interceded at a specific moment in time to overturn the power of darkness and sin and death. This is the dawn of a new day and the promise of something better. In the beginning of human history, mankind rejected the Word of God and set out on their own journey in opposition to their Creator. They ate the fruit of the forbidden tree so that they might become like God knowing good and evil, and know it they did. And so, is seems, do we all. And with that knowledge came punishment and brokenness and selfishness and pride and anger and a whole host desires that pervert and destroy relationships. But today we confess a gift that comes through a different tree, the tree of the cross. There your Lord died, and he died for all that deserves death and punishment in this world. He dies so that there might be life, so that there might be hope for you.
By Jeff Pulse –
The Old Testament text for Transfiguration Sunday, February 11, 2018, is from the second book of Kings. The text is II Kings 2:1-12 and is the account of Elijah being taken up into heaven in a whirlwind right before the eyes of Elisha, his chosen successor. There are several interesting things to consider in this text, especially as one considers why it was chosen to compliment the Mark account of the Transfiguration of Jesus. We especially want to look at two things: 1) The aspect of death and resurrection demonstrated in this text and 2) the movement through water into eternal life/heaven that is so prevalent in the pages of Scripture, both Old and New Testaments.