Holy Week 2018 – We will recognize…
To United Methodists in the Greater Northwest and all who read these words, wherever you are:
Between last week’s HOSANNA! and Easter’s ALLELUIA! we watch as Jesus walks to his death at the hands of secular and religious authorities, but emerges on the other side, victorious by the power of love at work in the world.
If we haven’t already cast the story with bunnies, daffodils and butterflies, we will recognize this story wherever hope breaks forth from despair. In the crowds of young people in the streets of America, marching, pleading, promising to claim their chance to live without the fear of being stalked and killed at school or at home, or in the neighborhood.
We will recognize the story among immigrants, who have left everything behind, travelled at great peril across deserts, war zones, oceans, boundaries, to arrive in foreign, often hostile lands in hopes of living in freedom, security and opportunity.
We will recognize the story among the poor and homeless who live every day like birds or tiny fur friends in hidden corners, and under bushes, in alleys, behind abandoned walls, in defiance of the powers of death that hem them in before and behind.
We will recognize the Jesus story in our own lives every time we break free from habits of thought and practice that do not serve us well – routines, sorrows, low expectations, petty grievances that we give safe harbor, allowing them to dull our senses and lower our gaze.
We will recognize Jesus, alive and well every time we hear the unlikely – miraculous story, really – of someone walking out of the valley of the shadow of death into the dazzling light of a new day.
You see, the Jesus story isn’t about Jesus, really. His death and resurrection weren’t about him at all. They were about us. They were about God’s magnificent creation, coming out from behind a cloud. Jesus lived and loved and died and rose to open our hearts, our minds and the doors of our small lives to the way God’s love in and through us can make all things new. This is the body of Christ, broken for you. This is the cup of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many.
May new hope dawn in your life, in our nation, and on this precious, precarious planet. May a way open that you thought was closed. And may you discover unimagined blessing.
So shall we shout, Alleluia!
Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky | Greater NW Area
Thank you for the eloquent and uplifting message. It gives me renewed hope that a Christian message can still inspire and move us in today’s crazy world!
Today you have restored my belief that there are truly faithful servants still in our churches. I have not been back into a church since my daughters memorial service in 1998. If only all who say they love Jesus really did follow what he taught, maybe someday this world would not be so cruel.
Young Mae Kim
Thank you Bishop Elaine for the powerful message. Yes,
Jesus’ story is mine also. His empty tomb is my empty tomb also where my old foolish self had laid but with the new dawn it became an altar where He is seated.