Dear Readers, today’s post is a Lenten reflection video I recorded for my church, St. James’ Episcopal, Warrenton, VA. If instead of reading this post you prefer to watch the video, you can do so here.
If you would rather read it, the text is below.
Father Ben has reminded us in the past that as Christians, responsible for God’s reputation in our world today, we need to be Easter People, not just during the spring, but throughout the year.
As Easter People, we believe Jesus was crucified, that He conquered death, that the Resurrection was real, and that Jesus ascended to be with God the Father the Creator and will someday return in glory.
Until I became an Episcopalian thirty-five years ago, I hadn’t paid much attention to Holy Week. The denominations of the Christian churches I attended through the first third of my life celebrated Palm Sunday with gusto and then the following Sunday, like magic, taa daa, it was Easter!
But the pathos of Holy Week cannot and must not be ignored. The tragic events of Holy Week, leading up to the joy of Easter, are an integral part of our Easter People story.
Omitting the events of those Holy Week days from our Easter People story would be like me sharing my own life story and telling you ONLY about the joyous highlights, skipping over entirely the tragedies that have had so much to do with shaping me into the person I am today.
When we think about the worst moments of our life, emotions spill over. We don’t want them, we may beg to wish them away, we ask for a re-do. We question how a loving God could inflict such awfulness upon us. And no one has the answers. What is true, though, is that without those terrible events in our lives, we would not be who we are.
Likewise, without our focus on the fear, sadness, suffering, abandonment, outrage, denial, brutality, grief, and despair of Holy Week — without deep consideration on all of those aspects — we are less than fully engaged Easter People.
This suncatcher in the photo above represents to me what being an Easter Person means. In the center are the dark stones above that huge teardrop that captures all of the tragedy that Jesus endured. Yes, we need to remember and talk about the tears.
But encircling the tears are the bright jewels of joy and hope and belief that we are loved beyond measure, freely forgiven, and promised a new life after our earthly one ends.
And the beam of sunlight that runs diagonally through both the tears and the joy? Well, that’s a reminder that the Holy Spirit is within our hearts to sustain us through the difficult times and dance with us in our moments of joy.
“May God grant you always…A sunbeam to warm you, a moonbeam to charm you, a sheltering Angel so nothing can harm you.
Laughter to cheer you. Faithful friends near you. And whenever you pray, Heaven to hear you.” an old Irish Blessing