The birds clear their voices; there’s light in the sky when I waddle out to pick up the morning newspaper; there’s even warmth in the morning breeze. Perhaps spring is truly here. With thoughts of spring come thoughts of Easter, the great celebration of God raising Jesus Christ from the dead.
For us Christians, there is one major matter that stands between now and Easter Sunday: the cross. You might prefer to bypass the cross and get to Easter. I understand. The cross, after all, confounds and upsets us. An innocent person is put to death. A man of peace is murdered by capital punishment. The betrayal, the desertion, the inability of the disciples to stay awake and pray, the violence – it is difficult, heavy, disturbing stuff.
The reality, of course, is that we cannot avoid the cross and get to Easter. We cannot avoid the agony and anguish, the denial and dissent. It is part of the same package. It is necessary to know the loss in order to celebrate the life.
This Thursday we will gather for supper at 6:30 and a service at 7:30 to remember the events immediately preceding the crucifixion of Christ. We will focus on the Lord ’s Table, recalling the institution of Lord’s supper and partaking together of the bread and wine. We will extinguish candles signifying the approach, and then the reality, of death. And, finally, we will hear powerful words of hope for new life.
In a sense, our Maundy Thursday service does not end. It carries into the weekend and then climaxes on Sunday with the resurrection. While the story does not end Thursday, Maundy Thursday is an important, even critical, beginning. I hope you will be here for it.