On the Power of Easter!
What an emotional rollercoaster! The Holy Week celebrations and remembrances, Palm Sunday to Easter, are a series of emotional highs and lows, but each of the days and their events are vital to our understanding of the Christian faith and life. This year the events of Holy Week take on special significance for the people of C.C. Hancock as they prepare for Hancock’s final worship service on April 28th. It is unfortunate that many people choose only to recognize the ecstatic highs of the bookending Sundays – the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and his glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday morning – without experiencing all the events taking place in between. Yes, these two Sundays are important, but their power is rooted in the mid-week events. The full meaning of the Palm Sunday crowd’s welcoming cries of “Hosanna to the son of David” must be understood in context of the Friday crowd shouting, “CRUCIFY HIM.” The resurrection could not take place without Jesus’ agonizing death on the cross. The death of Jesus would not have taken place without the betrayal of one of the 12 disciples.
Each of the events of Holy Week have significance and color our understanding of the Christian faith, and for me, Good Friday looms large. I think of the words Samuel Wesley wrote in the poem, “Behold the Savior of Mankind” (page 293 of our hymnal). Sure, Good Friday, taken in isolation, can be depressing, but think of the final verse of the poem:
But soon he’ll break death’s envious chain
And in full glory rise
O Lamb of God, was ever pain,
Was ever love like thine?
There can be no resurrection without death and so death is not something to be feared, but is simply a transition. As we consider the death of C.C. Hancock United Methodist Church think of the new life that will spring forth from the pool of money established through the sale of the Hancock property: the Trinity Campus of St. Daniel’s UMC in Chester will bring new hope to a hurting city; a new church start, yet to be birthed, will find financial support; and the Conference Trustees will be able to more effectively aid in the making of disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world because of these resources.
The Easter story is simple: “In our death, a resurrection, at last the victory, unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.” (“Hymn of Promise,” by Natalie Sleeth, #707 UM Hymnal)
For a full understanding of Easter we simply cannot skip over or ignore Good Friday’s pain. Join us for the mid-week Holy Week services.
Grace & Peace,
This article can be found in the April 2019 Newsletter