“For everything there is a season…” Jesus says, in John 12 that “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” There are seasons in our lives when we feel abundantly blessed and joyful. There are also seasons we feel as if we are in so much grief and pain that we are surely dying. Just when we think we can’t go on, that we can’t take any more of what life is giving us, a tiny green shoot appears – the dead seed begins to bring forth new life – and we discover a glimmer of hope – a tiny spark that will ignite our flame of life once more.
As we read the Gospels, this sense of grief and despair is reflected in Jesus’ prayer to God on his last night of earthly life, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.” This sense of despair and defeat also seems to reflect the feelings of the disciples after Jesus’ crucifixion and death. And yet – the reports from the tomb and Jesus’ appearances gave the disciples a glimmer of hope – a sense of the possibility of new life. Jesus promised them his continued presence through the Holy Spirit. They would not be left alone. They had renewed faith.
As our journey through Lent draws to a close, and we emerge out of the darkness of this season, I invite you to look around. Spring has arrived and there are buds of new life appearing. We are entering a new season that brings with it a sense of possibility, a glimmer of hope.
But before we enter this new season, we must go with Jesus on his last journey to Jerusalem. We must finish our Lenten journey and walk all the way to Golgotha and the cross. If we don’t finish our journey, we won’t recognize that the dying seed will produce the shoot of new life. We won’t understand God’s willingness to allow Jesus to die so that we might live.
I invite you to join us to complete our journey. Come Maundy Thursday to experience Jesus’ last night with his disciples. Walk with us up to the sanctuary to relive his death. And then wait…wait in the silence and darkness for God’s promise of new life and hope in the Easter Sunday Resurrection of Jesus the Christ.
Join us on Thursday, March 29, at 6pm for a simple meal that invites us to commune as Jesus did with his disciples. Then walk into the Sanctuary to experience Jesus' crucifixion and death as we strip the altar and leave the bare sanctuary in silence. Allow the despair to enter your being before returning in celebration of Jesus' resurrection on Easter Sunday.
God’s abundant blessings of hope and peace, Pastor Ann