Friday, March 31, 2006
Holy Week 2006
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.
Colossians 3:1, 4
We are on the brink of the holiest time in the Christian year. From the dawn of creation, all the elements of our faith were compressed into the span of this single week.
Remember from childhood, how we learned the miraculous sequence: Christ enters Jerusalem in triumph. He cleanses the temple. He proclaims His divinity. He issues His great commandment. He draws us into the enduring communion of His last supper. And for our salvation, he willingly gives Himself up to betrayal, torture and death.
Then the unimaginable: He is risen. From the depths of death and despair, He bursts forth, inspiring His terrified disciples to spread the good news of the risen Savior down through the ages - all the way to you and me as children, listening to the story of our faith for the first time.
I invite you to reconnect with your childhood impressions of the mystery and majesty of Christ's death and resurrection. Revisit that God-given, primal "intuition of faith" that's been resting in your heart of hearts from the time you first heard and came to believe. As Christ surrounded by the children tells us: "for of such is the kingdom of God."
Among my first impressions of the resurrection is the sheer thrill of that magnificent oratorio, Handel's Messiah. I'm sure that the combination of reverence, joy, explosive energy and awe-filled worship in the Hallelujah Chorus is about as close as man will ever get to capturing the moment of that first Easter morning. Even now, decades later, it instantly reconnects me with a reflexive intuition of faith - a hunger for something greater than ourselves, something so beautiful it rests beyond imagination.
Holy Week brings it all back. Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday. They build to the crescendo of Easter. This year let's drink it all in --- the scriptures, the prayers, the silence, the hymns, the music, the reflections, the communion, the fellowship. Let's stop and wonder at how much we are loved by God. How we are saved by His Son. How we are inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Let us rejoice that two millennia ago, God did not go on spring break. He crowded into this one wondrous week our inspiration and our salvation. He gave us our faith, our prayer and practice. And for the hard-case skeptics, Christ came back again and put Thomas' hand into His open wounds.
What a blessing to be with you this Easter. What a Holy Week God has in store for us. Please join us. Let's walk together through this best of God's good times.
Yours faithfully in the joy of the risen Christ,