I paint pretty paintings and seek to write beautiful words, but the truth isn’t always easy on the eyes, ears, or heart —and I often wish it was. The road to redemption and rescue is paved with much disappointment and heartache. Even this week that begins with celebration and hosannas and palm branches found its end in angry mobs, confusion, and distress. And for us, in the midst of our own “it’s not supposed to be this way,” we face a different kind of celebration —one that reveals why we truly celebrate and where our hope comes from.
This week —this week when families typically iron their Sunday best, prepare for citywide Easter egg hunts, and travel to gather together with friends and family— this week can’t be fully assuaged by candy, gifts, or video conferencing. We are a grieved people, but not without hope; we get to lean into what loss and sadness taught the disciples, and what it teaches us now.
Had Troy and I known that Foundations, the family discipleship devotional that he and I wrote together, would come out during a pandemic, we may have thought to include an appendix or a bonus chapter —a foundation, perhaps titled: “Cling to the cross in trials and suffering: Nothing can separate you from the love of God.”
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This Resurrection Sunday may not look like any other you’ve known, but the disappointment and discomfort we feel is an opportunity for us to declare in a real and unshakable way that nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Parents, friends, roommates, grandparents, students, health-care workers, empty-nesters…as you serve and celebrate with whoever is in your care or under your influence this Holy Week, keep it simple: Show them resurrection hope by clinging, yourself, to the cross in the midst of trials and suffering.
Maybe the empty tomb will be most visible this year —not in pageants, plays, or magnificent stage decor— but though the humble, real, and lived-out example of lives emptied of any hope but hope in Jesus. We get to shout “He Is Risen!” by the way we cling to the cross.
So friends, “…admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14) WE are the body of Christ, restored through His resurrection and brought to the table for a meal that will never end. Easter Sunday may look nothing like we expected, but it can sure be more than we ever could’ve imagined.
Grateful to spur you on as you press in and onward in Christ,