Dear Edwards Church Community,
Unlike the birth of Jesus, which scholars agree did not occur in December, his arrest, torture and execution, which we remember during Holy Week, and his resurrection, which we celebrate on Easter, most definitely happened in the spring. Scripture refers to Jesus and his disciples coming to Jerusalem for the Passover, which is always in the spring, and Passover and Holy Week often overlap as they do this year.
It matters for biblical history, but it also matters for all those naturally occurring springtime events that we associate with resurrection: the flowers that bloom; the animals that emerge from hibernation; the birds that return to fill the air with their songs and build nests in which to lay eggs. “I thank you God for most this amazing / day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees / and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything / which is natural which is infinite which is yes” – e.e. cummings
Spring is such a natural setting for an event that declares God has given us new life, or at least an invitation to it. Accepting that invitation requires something from us: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” (Matt. 16:24-25) The events of Holy Week and the services and gatherings we hold to remember them provide an opportunity to deepen our acceptance of the invitation.
Gathering in Addis Hall for a Pot-Luck Last Supper, we can try to imagine how Jesus’ disciples first heard the words now familiar to us: “Do this in remembrance of me.” Sitting in the deepening darkness of the sanctuary as the passion story is read on Good Friday, we can try to imagine what Jesus and the disciples were going through when Jesus asked them to stay awake with him while he prayed at Gethsemane, or when he was being stripped and beaten, or when Peter was denying him.
All these stories can have all the time and opportunity we give them – and only that much – to resonate inside us. All these stories have something new and something timeless to say to us. All we need to do is hear them and set them loose in our imagination. If you cannot make it to church, call the office, or email me, Heather Dandy or Deb Moore, and we can send you the stories you would hear if you came. Let them fall on you like an April shower on a garden and see what grows.
Wherever and however you observe Holy Week and celebrate Easter, I wish you a full measure of the joy that is promised and given at the end of the story: “(now the ears of my ears awake and / now the eyes of my eyes are opened)” – e.e. cummings
May God bless you and keep you,
May God make her face to shine upon you,
And be gracious to you, and give you peace.