Sometimes it’s easy to forget Easter, I’ve found that especially over the last two years when I’ve been working and Easter has seemed little more than a refreshing long weekend in the midst of the slog. This year we’ve made a concerted effort to remember. Sometimes memories come unbidden into the mind, sometimes you have to work at them, sifting through the boxes at the back of the head to extract that precious moment. Remembering Easter doesn’t come that naturally if there are no signposts guiding us. This year we are trying to put our own signposts in.
We’re remembering the crazy week of 2000 years ago. The one which started out with such promise, such joy, such triumph as Jesus headed into Jerusalem with the crowds cheering all around. But the one which descended into such darkness as Jesus battled in the garden with friends who fell asleep and eventually abandoned him. The one which ended with a cup, a hill and a cross.
We’re remembering because we need to remember. We need to remember that this point was the turning point in history, this is the event that changed everything. Jesus’ death and resurrection mean SO much in our lives and it is right to stop along the way and dwell on each part.
We stop in the garden, feeling the anguish of Jesus as he desperately asks the Father if there is any other way, feeling the strength of his obedience so you and I could live at peace with our Maker. We travel along the road to the cross, standing with the women with Jesus to the end, seeing the effect as the temple curtain tears and Jesus cries out, “It is finished”.
We stop in the space between Friday and Sunday, the cold emptiness tinged with fear and hope, so similar to where we stand now.
And then we let loose, we glory, we dance, we exalt and celebrate as the tomb stands empty, as death is defeated, as Satan is trounced, as Hope is born, as new creation becomes real, tangible, a certain future.
Right now we’re in the garden, Jesus is urging, pleading his friends not to fall asleep as he experiences mental torture at the thought of what he must endure. How do we feel as we see our Saviour, Friend and Lord in such agony? What must the disciples felt as once more he came back, blood in his sweat to wake them? What could cause such agony? What could he be going through for you and me? What were the effects of this offering?
“26Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.” (Hebrews 7)