He Is Risen

Dear Friends,

Walking through Holy Week with Jesus for me is helpful if amid the busyness of it all we slow down, do less and realize that this is the holiest time of our Christian calendar. This is why it is called Holy Week because it is set apart for the special purpose to remember the last week of Jesus’ life.

I remember the church in Edinburgh where I joined the Church of Scotland, had an evening service every day during Holy Week. There was Holy Communion on the Thursday evening and as Good Friday was a public holiday, we were able to attend a solemn service on Good Friday afternoon; three hours of meditations based on Jesus’ seven words from the cross. In some towns, there was an ecumenical Walk of Witness through the streets. The police would stop the traffic and a large cross was carried through the streets ahead of the assembled congregations.

Easter Sunday morning broke the silence for us with a dawn service in the church garden, or in one of my churches where there was a bronze age grave on a hill, we would walk up very early for the dawn service before returning for breakfast in the church hall. The later services would follow to complete the Easter Sunday celebrations.

With such an eventful roller-coaster of a week behind them, the first disciples must have been emotionally exhausted and still afraid of a similar fate upon a Roman cross. The Good News of Jesus Resurrection would take a while to sink in and be understood in the coming weeks. Disbelief was understandable especially for those who had not yet seen the Risen Lord Jesus. Thankfully, He would appear to them again over the next forty days to reassure them that it was really Him.

Easter is the climax of the Christian year, and the Resurrection of Jesus gives us hope to face all things because death is not the end, and it has lost its sting. As Edmond Louis Budry puts it in his famous Easter hymn, Thine be the Glory (Thine is the Glory GtG#238),

Lo! Jesus meets us risen from the tomb;

Lovingly He greets us, scatters fear and gloom.

Let the church with gladness hymns of triumph sing,

For the Lord now liveth; death hath lost its sting.

Happy Easter,

Pastor Cliff