From Lent's darkness to Easter's light
By Pastor Adam Quine
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[April 11, 2014]
It always begins so well. After
completing our journey through the wilderness, we are all eager for
a parade and a party. By this point, our clothes are tattered and
shredded from the walk, our feet hurt and we need to wipe the dust
off our tired, worn-out bodies. What a welcome sight the banners in
the distance are for our eyes, and what more refreshing sound to
break the silence than the swooshing of palm branches being waved.
We don our Sunday dress and our best smile, mindful that our
wanderings have waned and our celebration is about to commence.
But despite our celebration, things rapidly move downhill, don't
Palm Sunday — called also Passion Sunday, signaling a full
reading of the Passion narratives in the Scriptures — frames the
impending week. It reminds us that the moment which appears to
signal the height of Jesus' public acceptance, actually begins the
process of Jesus' public betrayal, public failure, his public
abandonment. The truth of Palm Sunday illuminates what we have been
searching out for all of Lent: Jesus demonstrates endurance,
managing to stay the course until the very end, overcoming
temptations and defeating the lies in all their manifestations. The
Passion narratives trace the struggle, one segment at a time,
between the expressed Word of God and the ways of the world.
Before long, we see all these conflicting forces collude and
collide. We watch Jesus, still caught in the grip of religious and
political agendas, continue speaking and reaching out, unconcerned
with the associated controversy and conflict. The first days of Holy
Week confirm this truth: that there are some things which are indeed
worth living for, even (and perhaps, especially) if this means that
we have to die for them as well.
After Wednesday, the good news becomes a little harder to find.
On Thursday, we meet Jesus for the last time with the disciples,
sharing stories and praying, even with and for the one who will
Then we reach Friday. We all know what happens on Friday. For a
moment in time, it appears that this great light has been snuffed
out by the violence and power of the world; our parade of palms ends
with a slow procession behind a hearse. So it is in silence we
remain through Saturday, reading the story of God's salvation,
trusting and hoping that God is who God says God is.
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Though we know the story all too well...
Despite all that occurred on Friday...
We trust, we hope, we believe that on Sunday, with the first
sight of light, we will receive the good news — the good news that
evil does not have the final say; the good news that violence has
not won; the good news that God is a God of resurrection, and not
As Lent was a time to call us to change our hearts, Easter is a
time when we expose the joy in our hearts, emergent from the radical
revelation that God in Christ defeated death bodily and that we may
now live to bring God's love fully into the world.
Suddenly, what started out as apparently routine, ends in a way
that we can never fully understand. And yet, we know in our bones
that Easter Sunday is the moment Christmas points to, the moment the
Passion obscures, the moment the tomb reveals, the moment we
celebrate and proclaim: Christ is risen, Christ is risen indeed!
The darkness is dissipating. Join us as we celebrate the return
[By Pastor ADAM QUINE, First