Pastor Luke's Message.........
It is Holy Week. We worship on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and of course, Easter Sunday. I’m even sure that some of you have even participated in an Easter Vigil at one time or another. Still, we tend to lose track of the time between Jesus being put in the tomb and the women finding him missing on Easter Morning. This in-between time is Holy Saturday. It is a grief-filled time of transition, a time of bridging different realities. During Holy Saturday, we experience the juxtaposition between life and death, humiliation and glory, love and hate. These all remind me of our human tendencies to see things such as these as either/or propositions. But Jesus shows us during Holy Saturday how one is often all bound up in the other. We must die in order to live, that is die to our old selves to be born anew to eternal life. We must journey from hate into love by loving not only our neighbors, but even our enemies. This shows us that the love Jesus commands must come from within ourselves and out to the world around us. How can we do this? We must humble ourselves. To love is to endure humiliation. This is how we take up our crosses and follow Jesus. Swallow your pride and reach out in love to the person you hate the most in order to tell them you care, offer a hand, and share the good news of Jesus. Only in humiliation do we find true glory – the glorification of Christ Jesus. This is what Holy Saturday teaches us, this is what Jesus shows us during the time between death and resurrection.
In the most basic of terms, Jesus taught his disciples that humans are complex beings, capable of being both good and evil. In this teaching is the most complex truth of all for us to understand, we can both sinner and saint and the exact same time. Yes, it’s true! This basic understanding of Christ’s teaching has been reinforced by many, including Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This is helpful in understanding the nature of forgiveness of sins and, more importantly, how to love our neighbors and, yes, even our enemies. You see, everyone you meet is beloved. Everyone you meet is both a sinner and a saint. If someone treats you like they are sinners, you treat them like they are saints; not because they deserve it but because they are beloved. We can bring out the best in one another by willingly taking up our crosses for the sake of the gospel.
So, during this season of Easter, take some Holy Saturday time each day. What I mean by this is that I implore you to reflect on the “both/and” of each person and situation you encounter rather than dividing everything into an “either/or” proposition. Try applying Holy Saturday thinking to political issues, to people who rub you the wrong way, and especially to situations you just don’t understand. Holy Saturday thinking shows us that we needn’t fear the tough stuff. Instead, we can embrace the complexities of our lives and of those around us. My prayer is that we all learn from Jesus how to go from death to life, from humiliation to glory, and from hate to love just has he did for us.
Go in peace and share this good news!