written for New Hope Presbytery‘s e-News on April 7, 2017
As we stand on the edge of another Holy Week, preparing to remember the journey of Jesus from his triumphal entry into Jerusalem through his arrest, trial, and execution and finally his resurrection, there’s something almost shocking to me about the intensity and speed of all these things. Just when things seemed to be at their highest point for Jesus, just when the man who had taught as he roamed the countryside reached the big city, just when he finally would be able to bring his proclamation of the kingdom of God to the halls of power, everything came crashing down in only a few days.
Yet I think the intensity and speed at which the cries that greeted Jesus shifted from “Hosanna!” to “Crucify him!” makes the journey before us all the more compelling. These sorts of overnight shifts are all too familiar for us—maybe the friend who quickly goes from being in great health to suffering from terminal illness, or the colleague who is suddenly let go as the company’s priorities shift without warning, or the world situation that escalates almost overnight from order to massive chaos. In these moments as death seems to take hold, we experience the reality of Holy Week firsthand.
But amidst all the darkness and death in our world, Holy Week also reminds us that death is not the end of the story. To paraphrase and extend the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., I believe that death does not drive out death—only resurrection can do that. The death of Jesus changed things once and for all, but that death would not have meant anything at all were it not for the resurrection. And so it is with us, that death will not change anything in our world, either—only living as resurrection people can do that.
So as we remember this week the journey that Jesus first made from triumphal entry through execution and into resurrection, I pray that this journey might be real for us, too. I pray that we might see God walking with us in the pathways of darkness and death that stand before us so that we might live the new life of resurrection in our lives, in our churches, and in our world. Blessings on your journey this Holy Week and beyond!