Triumph, tragedy, triumph!
From triumph to tragedy to triumph!
Dear friends in Christ, in just a little over 10 days we will be coming upon Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. And in so doing we enter the final march to the glorious celebration of Easter. This is most certainly a time of the Church Year that provides a variety of events which can create within a Christian a roller coaster of emotions.
On Palm Sunday we are exposed to the triumphal entry of Jesus into the holy city of Jerusalem. The book of John tells us in 12:12-15, “The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!" And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!" What a joyful celebration it was as Jesus, the Son of David, entered the city gates as the crowd shouted out words of praise to the King of King and the Lord of Lords. What an exciting and exhilarating moment to behold! Triumph at its finest!
Then just 4 short days later we see Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemanes with His disciples, as He prays to His Father and in deep anguish and stress sweats drops of blood. The next thing taking place is that the Master is turned over to an angry mob, while being betrayed by one of His own dear friends, Judas. He is unfairly put on trial, judged to be guilty of blasphemy, beaten and mocked, and then the Christ is crucified on a hill outside the city walls. What an unbelievable turn of events and what a drastic change of atmosphere this was from the cheering and jubilation only days earlier. Tragedy in full bloom!
Thanks be to God the story does not end on a despairing and depressing note. The Gospel writer Mark goes on to tell us the rest of the story in 16:1-7, “When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?" And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back--it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you." Triumph in bright array!
Dear people of God get ready to be subjected, once again, to the triumph, tragedy, and triumph of the Holy Week/Easter story! It is a story that never gets old, nor does it ever lose its deep effect on those who experience its roller coaster drama. Pastor McCarty