Pastor’s Penn – March 2016

Written by Pastor's Pen - February 26, 2016 0 Comments

The Pastor’s Pen

March 2016

Holy Week is a week of contrasts. The cheers of “Hosanna!” on Palm Sunday give way to the cries of “Crucify!” on Good Friday. The agony of the cross is replaced by the joy of the empty tomb. The hatred displayed by Jesus’ enemies stands in sharp contrast to the love and forgiveness shown by our Lord. It is a week of darkness and light, evil and goodness, defeat and triumph, 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 you and me, 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 be filled with faith. And we know what it is to have our faith shaken by doubt. As Martin Luther says, we are saints and sinners at the same time. We are capable of being used as instruments of God’s grace, and we are equally capable of succumbing to the temptations of the evil one. The contrasts of Holy Week are present in each of us.

As we enter into Holy Week later this month, we can know that in the person of Jesus, God has experienced what it is to be human. God has gone through the highs and lows that each of us goes through. And because he has, he is able to guide and support us on our journey through life. As the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews says, “Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.” (Heb. 2:18)

But Holy Week means more than that God can simply identify with our human struggles. It also means that even in the midst of those struggles we can experience the victory that Jesus has won for us. Because of Jesus’ dying and being raised, our sins have been taken away and we have been reconciled to God forever. There is now nothing that can separate us from him – including the highs and lows, the ups and downs, of life in this world.

As we move 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 give thanks that God has entered into our world and has experienced all the contrasts of being human. And we can give thanks that because God has done that, we now have the promise of a glorious future, a future with God. It’s a future that begins now and that continues into eternity. And it’s a future that nothing that we experience in this world is able to take away.

Blessings on your Lenten journey,

Pastor Selbo

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