.Some time back I had the thought that life, the Christian life, can be looked at through the two poles of Good Friday and Easter. While of course we would prefer to always be living an “Easter” existence, there are times when the best we can do is look to Jesus and pray, “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Or the pain and feelings of abandonment draw us to repeat Jesus’ words on the cross from Psalm 22.
Then there are those Sunday moments of sheer joy, moments of healing and health, happiness and transformation as we experience the assurance of God’s presence. But these are the two poles we live between as followers of Jesus.
Some days, perhaps most days, we are firmly in the middle, not overwhelmed nor living on cloud nine.
But what unites all these moments for the Christian is the hope that comes after the pain, after the crisis. The new life we experience in glimpses this side of paradise, but long for in fullness when we are ultimately reunited with Jesus.
Holy week, when you think about it, includes both the extremes and commonness of human experience: there’s the preview of Jesus’ kingship on Palm Sunday (the desire for justice and righteous leadership), the fickleness of the crowds from Sunday to Friday. On Maundy Thursday, there’s the dear fellowship of close friends followed by betrayal. On Good Friday, there is one of the most profound experiences of human life, death.
And then of course, there is Easter Sunday: Resurrection. The most important hope, that leads us to believe that no matter the wounds, no matter the pain, that God is able to take all of it to redeem and restore us.
It all belongs.
I’d like to close with an excerpt by the poet Mary Oliver, who grasps this quite well in her poem “The Uses of Sorrow:”
Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.
Happy Holy Week, where we get to remember the very extremes of the human experience through Jesus Christ our Lord,
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