There are few holidays I enjoy more than the raucous celebration of Easter. There is essentially no hymn of this season that I don't love to sing; there is no end of the grace and joy and hope that I can feel in sharing the good news of what Easter means; there is a message of such joy and fulfillment that Eastertide always feels like a season where the sun doesn't stop shining. I really feel that fullness of God's unmitigated grace in this season.
But I also love the foreboding events of Holy Week-this week where we remember Jesus' betrayal, arrest, trial and execution. It may at first seem odd to hold both the sunny joy of Easter
and the midnight fear of Good Friday as times to love, but it's because the two events tell the whole story of God's endless love for us that I love them both.
See, Easter makes no sense without Good Friday. If Jesus didn't die, then he wouldn't have been raised. If there was no cross, then there is no empty tomb. And Good Friday is simply hopeless without Easter. If the cross is the end of the story, then we are still in bondage to sin and condemned to death. But they both happened, and that tells us something about who God is.
The God who came to us in Jesus Christ showed us in Holy Week exactly how far God would be willing to go for our sake. Jesus accepted the cross, our toll for daring to bring God near to us, and accepted a terrible death because that's what we demanded. The events of Holy Week show us just how deep the brokenness of humanity runs. But that's not all. Christ broke through the power of death and out the other side, showing us that the worst rejection we could offer God, to literally die, could not keep God from redeeming us.
The events we remember this week are a stark reminder that there is nothing that can get in the way of God's love for us. God, who had every reason to react to our violent rejection with equal violence of God's own, instead accepted the cruelty we offered and gave back love and salvation. As Paul said, neither height, nor depth, nor powers, nor rulers, nor things present, nor
things to come, nor anything else in all of creation can separate us from the love of God.
And that's why I love Easter and Good Friday. I love the story it tells of who this God is that I worship: one who won't let our sin and brokenness get the last say, who won't accept the rejection of wholeness and justice that God brings, who won't stop short of anything to let it be known that you are loved, celebrated, and accepted by the very maker of the universe. And it
might be just me, but that is something I never get tired of hearing.