Christians are talking about Easter. What does it mean? For some, Easter is just another long weekend. For youngsters, the Easter bunny comes. For Christians, Easter is a journey from the pain of Good Friday to the joy of Jesus’ resurrection. We call this week “Holy Week” – the last week of Jesus’ life as a human being walking this earth.
Jesus begins his week angry with the injustice that is happening everywhere. At the temple in Jerusalem, he flips over the tables of the money changers who are cheating the poor. He sets the frightened sacrificial animals free. His voice thunders out across the courtyard, “It is written, my house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.” And that is only Monday.
By Thursday, he has set up a last meal with his friends. He knows what’s coming. He needs their companionship in his pain. He offers them his last bits of wisdom. “Remember me. Serve others. Trust in God.” And finally after all the torture, all the pain, comes the relief of death.
Many of us have walked this journey with a loved one. My mother suffered with a cancer so excruciating the strongest drugs brought no relief. Yes, death can bring release.
We have named the day of Jesus’ death “Good Friday” for two reasons. It brought Jesus release from his anguish, and it was the first step toward his transformation, his new life. For Jesus and for all of us, death is not the end, it is the beginning: the beginning of a new life. That’s the Easter story.
This coming week, think about your life, pick out the glimpses of new life – of Easter – that mark the guide posts in your journey through joy and sorrow. Watch and pray. Know that Easter is coming as surely as the sun will rise every morning.
“Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!” (John 20:18)