The appeared in the Seward Journal on Wednesday, March 27th. It’s a reflection on Holy Week leading up to Easter.
On Easter morning there will be shouts of “He is Risen, Indeed!” But not yet. On that Sunday morning, we will sing “Christ the Lord is risen today.” But not yet. The earth will shake, the stone will be rolled away, and followers will run to find an empty tomb. But not yet.
It’s the “not yet” which gives Easter its meaning. So many of us jump from Palm Sunday to Easter without entering into the “not yet” of the Passion. We hear about the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and then we hear of the empty tomb. We jump from mountaintop to mountaintop, from celebration to celebration, from “Hosannah” to “Alleluia.”
That day is coming. But it’s not here. Not yet.
A lot happens in the not yet. Crowds who welcome Jesus with branches waving will turn against him. A Passover meal will become his “Last Supper.” One of his followers will betray him. He will be turned over to the authorities, tried, convicted, and nailed to a cross. And there, with crown of thorns upon his head, the King of Kings will die. He will die for our sins. He will die for the world. He will die our death.
As the curtain goes down on this drama played out on our behalf, we are left to ponder our place in it. We are left to ponder our own guilt, our own sin. We ponder the greatness of the Way of the Cross, a life of utter obedience and sacrifice. We are left to ponder the Father’s love for us, EVEN US, as the Savior hangs, arms outstretched. As the curtain drops we are left to believe with the centurion that “Truly, this man was the Son of God” (Mt. 27:54).
And, just as it seems like the drama is over, the curtain is torn in two and God proclaims, “Not yet.” Easter is on the way.
I pray that you will have a blessed Easter filled with song and Scripture and faith. And I pray that it is more deeply meaningful to you because you’ve experienced the “not yet” of the cross…the death which which makes our shouts of new life on Easter morning possible.