For years I celebrated Easter as if it were a stand-alone holiday, singing “Up from the Grave He Arose” without giving much thought to the horror of the Dying or the silence of the Dead. Providentially, my early efforts to incarnate and to enliven an invisible God in the hearts and minds of four sweet sons found a way into the obtuse heart of their mother as well.
This Lenten season, we are making the traditional observances in some extremely non-traditional ways. Yesterday, my church family posted videos of Palm Sunday celebrations with children (and grandparents!) waving Maine pine boughs and shouting “Hosanna!” With the literal meaning of hosanna being “Oh, save!” I can’t think of a better script for the season of COVID-19!
On this Monday of Holy Week, we affirm that what we believe about one weekend in history, the three days’ journey from Golgotha to the garden tomb, impacts our whole experience of the Christian life. While we sense our emptiness more in a time of pandemic, there is never a time when we do not require lavish grace to have our emptiness filled, our requests denied, and our fatherlessness remedied by the Father.
We are all entering Holy Week with more questions than answers. In A Glorious Dark, A.J. Swoboda describes a God who “stand[s] tall” above human history and invites (rather than scorns) the questioning heart. After all, of the thirty-one questions Jesus posed in the Gospels, God answered only three. When God does not break into history to rectify the list of problems set forth in my latest prescriptive prayer, I want to remember the messy way in which that one weekend in history played out for those who were on the scene. Once again, may the life of Jesus be made manifest, a glorious life emerging from a glorious dark.
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A Glorious Dark: Finding Hope In The Tension Between Belief And Experience, simply click on the title or the image within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
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