We begin the season of Lent with these words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust, you shall return.” It is a wonderful and mysterious combination of our mortality and our eternal belovedness.
When we come to these places where there is an intersection, I find a fascinating way in which Jesus embodies that. The same Jesus of Good Friday saying these incredibly deep words of being forlorn, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me, ” is also the Jesus who is raised from the dead and says these words, “I am resurrection and I am life.”
I find that in the complexities of life, we engage in how to survive. Survival is a deep part of our being as human beings. When we survive I believe there is this notion of fight or flight, or freeze, or fawn, which is a part of how we survive.
As people who survive, we have mindsets that help us move out of danger and into places of sanctuary.We also have the opportunity to thrive where we are more centered, clear-headed, and calm. Perhaps we can see beyond what is dangerous into possibilities, visioning into the future.Both those mechanisms are a part of us, and God is in the midst of it all.
The same Jesus who was at Good Friday is also in the midst of us when we celebrate Easter.
In this year alone, 2023, I believe we’ve had 130 mass shootings in the United States. The latest one in Nashville brought us very close to the reality that children are being killed regularly.
Gun violence is the biggest cause of death among our young people in this country. That is a Good Friday because there is a deep deep loss, consistent loss, and a sense of helplessness.
Jesus is present in the midst of it, that we know.
Because of that confidence that God is present, we must do more than survive. We must dream big dreams and overcome some of the major ways in which Good Friday has a grip on us. By holding on to Jesus, clinging to this Jesus, we will rise again.
That brings me to the final thing I want to say, and that is, the hope that we share in Christ. As St. Paul clearly says in Romans chapter 5, “affliction produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame.”
My friends, Easter is our hope. Our hope is grounded in the reality of life through Good Friday and beyond. While it is true that we will always have Good Friday among us, we will also have Easter.
Let us embody this deep faith and this deep hope holding on to this Jesus, who is the same through Good Friday and Easter.
Let me wish you a blessed Easter and all the hope that comes with it! Amen.