Rev. Jonathan K. Twitchell
He is risen! He is risen indeed!
On the one hand, it's quite predictable--we know the flow of the season... Ash Wednesday leads to Lent... Palm Sunday leads to Maundy Thursday... and Good Friday leads to Resurrection Sunday. And so, it might seem strange that we get so excited about the arrival of Easter... after all, it comes around once a year! Some might wonder why we get so concerned with the cross when we know that it leads to the empty tomb.
On the other hand, our journey through Lent makes our celebration that much richer. As we identify with the testing and suffering of Jesus, we also identify with his resurrection from the dead. When we are more acutely aware of the dark valley, we are even more grateful for the Good Shepherd who has walked through that valley already. The certainty of Easter's arrival serves to remind us of the certainty of our own future resurrection.
These words of Isaiah are among my favorite passages from the Hebrew Scriptures. The shroud of death has covered all nations--but it will finally be removed. All people have shed tears... but in that day they will be wiped away. A great banquet will be prepared, and death itself will be swallowed up in victory.
And we will say, "Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us."
We speak of this day with complete certainty. In the same way we know that Easter will come each year, we know that this day will also come. In the dark days of Lent, we can look forward to the lilies and the celebration of the empty tomb. In the same way, during the dark days of our lives, we look forward to the future fulfillment of the Kingdom of God.
Whatever dark valley you may experience this year... whatever shroud may enfold you... whenever tears may cloud your eyes... it is my prayer that you would know with certainty that the day is coming when you can look back and say, "Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us."
All my help from Thee I bring.
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.