A Blessed Good Friday and Easter morn

Among Christians, this is a week when we recognize the profound dislocation and disorientation that happens when we follow the life of Jesus and dig deep and deeper still into our faith. 

On Palm Sunday, we use the symbols of palm leaves to point us to the Scripture story where Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey accompanied by palm branches and people shouting hosanna. People who wish to crown him king. And if we research the context of that day, on the other side of Jerusalem, Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea, rides in on a horse accompanied by banners and armored soldiers.

On Maundy Thursday, Jesus shares the Jewish Passover Festival with his friends, aware of how much he has upset the powers that be, yet he continues to live as God calls him. Taking on the role of servant, Jesus washes their feet, and commands them to love one another.  

Today, Good Friday, there are churches that have a Service of Tenebrae (shadows). On the Isle of Iona, Scotland, we would have the Stations of the Cross (on this date--Friday, March 30--you will need to scroll down the page a bit to find the Stations with pictures attached) at various outdoor areas that led us ever onward to the Abbey. 

On Easter morn, we recognize that God's great love and laughter cannot be snuffed out. The sting of death is taken away. In the grand scheme of the cosmos, after death and violence, there is always new life. Always.

St. John's Cross, Iona Abbey

St. John's Cross, Iona Abbey

Celebrating New Life

It's the Monday after Easter. A celebration of new life, of spring, of lengthening daylight.

Since Ash Wednesday on February 10, I have had extra events at church as we move through this season of preparation for Easter. Wednesday evening studies ended but this past week, we entered Holy Week.  That starts with a Palm Sunday Worship Service, moves to a Maundy Thursday Evening Service of Shadows and communion, a Good Friday afternoon Community Crosswalk, and yesterday's morning-long Easter Celebration. It is all good. As a co-pastor and a pastor within a community of pastors, I don't create all of these services. But this year it was my turn to craft the Easter Service. 

Worship is the work of the people and that becomes obvious on Easter Sunday. In our little church, the choir sings, the handbells are played, the Sunday school children enact a skit, and our gifted singers and pianists pull together the best of their songs.

Now, after all of that time of preparation, it's time to keep living into that belief that new life awaits us.