Behold, all is new!
This weekend many of our Christian churches will be celebrating Palm Sunday, remembering when Jesus was loudly proclaimed as King and great fanfare was expressed as he made his way into Jerusalem only to realize he was marching to his death and finally his resurrection. Our Jewish brothers and sisters will begin to celebrate their Passover on the day when Christians are celebrating Good Friday. Both events signify a liberation from slavery.
This coming week is the highpoint of the Christian faith. This is the week we remember, we celebrate, we believe. But this is not only remembering the past; it is remembering our future which has been made possible through the events we remember in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We are coming to the close of our Lenten observance which has been described by one of our ministers in Sedalia as the preparation time for what is to come. The Feast of Easter is not just about Jesus; it is about what Jesus has accomplished for all who live faithful lives in covenant with God, past, present, and future.
Fr. George Smiga, a priest of the Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio, teaches in a seminary, and pastors a parish. He writes: “Through the resurrection of Jesus, God makes a promise to us and to the world. God promises that we are heading to glory. God promises that the ultimate fate of our world is goodness, justice and peace. These are the promises that we are challenged to believe. The challenge is not easy. When we look at all that is wrong with our lives – our failures, our regrets, our inability to heal broken relationships, our battle with sickness and grief – it is difficult to believe that God is leading us to life and glory When we look at all that is wrong in our world – prejudice, terrorism, political dysfunction, the lack of sufficient nutrition and dignity for millions of people – it is difficult to believe that God is changing this world into the kingdom of God.”
Perhaps this is why, in the past, people came to church on Easter Sunday with their Easter bonnets, new suits, dressed to the nines to proclaim that a new day has come. God has removed the reproach of his people and has led them into the new Jerusalem.
There used to be a TV program called “The Week that Was.” It recalled all the major events of the week that had an impact on the lives of people and the future of the world. This is that week. This is the week that has transformed the future of all humankind and of all creation. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ has changed everything and has given a new promise to the world.
The question is: can we embrace it? Can we embrace this promise of justice, and peace, and reconciliation, and hope and a future full of immortality? Are these possibilities just a “pipe-dream” or are they truly gifts which the Lord desires to offer those who believe that Jesus Christ has risen and walks among us into Galilee? Are we like the people in the days of Isaiah who said to them, “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19) Or what Jesus told his disciples, “Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember?” (Mark 8:18)
The events we celebrate this week by “re-membering” this great week that was, we celebrate not only what God has done but also embrace all that God continues to do on our behalf. May our eyes be opened, may our ears be opened, may our minds and hearts be opened to this new reality into which we have entered by embracing the reign of God in our midst. Happy Easter!