The Pastor’s Pen April 2011

Written by Pastor's Pen - March 24, 2011 1 Comment

The Pastor’s Pen

Holy Week is a week of contrasts.  The cheers of “Hosanna!” on Palm Sunday are contrasted with the cries of “Crucify!” on Good Friday.  The agony of the cross is contrasted with the joy of the empty tomb.  The hatred shown by Jesus’ enemies is contrasted with the love and forgiveness shown by Jesus.  The complacency of the sleeping disciples in Gethsemane is contrasted with the intensity of Jesus sweating drops of blood.  It is a week of darkness and light, evil and goodness, defeat and victory, death and life.  It is a week in which the powers of hell collide head-on with the power of God.

As I think about Holy Week and what it means for us, I am aware that our lives are also filled with contrasts.  We, too, experience sorrow and joy, victory and defeat, life and death.  We know what it is to have our faith shaken by doubts.  As Martin Luther says, we are saints and sinners at the same time.  We are capable of being used as God’s instruments, and we are capable of succumbing to the temptations of the evil one.  The contrasts of Holy Week are present in each of us.

As we prepare for Holy Week with all of its highs and lows, we can be encouraged by knowing that God, in Christ, has also experienced the contrasts of being human.  Part of what Holy Week means is that God has gone through the highs and lows that each of us goes through.  God has known joy and sorrow, faith and doubt, victory and defeat.  He has experienced life and death, and therefore he can guide us and support us as we confront life and death.  As the writer to the Hebrews says, “Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.” (Hebrews 2:18)

But Holy Week means more than that God can identify with our human ups and downs.  It also means that we will one day share eternally in the life and joy and victory of the resurrection.  It means that the contrasts and struggles we experience in the world will not continue forever.  Just as the events of Holy Week gave way to the dawn of Easter, so our earthly lives will one day give way to the brightness of life everlasting.  The Apostle Paul, agonizing over the struggle of wanting to do right and yet continuing to do wrong, cried out, “Who will deliver me from this body of death?”  Paul’s answer?  “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25)

As we prepare to enter Holy Week later this month – moving from the praises of Palm Sunday to the betrayal of Maundy Thursday, from the cross of Good Friday to the resurrection of Easter – we can know that God has gone through all of the highs and lows, all of the joys and sorrows, of being human.  And we can know, too, that through Jesus’ death and resurrection God has opened for us a glorious future, a future to be lived with him forever.  We can join Paul in triumphantly proclaiming, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

See you in worship,

Pastor Selbo

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One Outstanding Responses to "The Pastor’s Pen April 2011"

    Barb on April 13, 2011 at 2:29 am | Permalink

    Yes, life is full of contrasts…and Holy Week does emphasizes it. Thoughtfully written explanation. Thanks!

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