Finding Faith: Why we celebrate the renewal of Easter
"Even in this year, when it seems we cannot escape the cloud of despair enveloping this earth, we still celebrate the Son of God, coming to earth to live among us, suffering like us and voluntarily taking death to his grave with him so that we don’t have to."
Holy Week begins Sunday for tens of millions of Christians worldwide.
It begins with Palm Sunday, when Jesus, the son of God, rode humbly on a donkey into Jerusalem for the Jewish festival of Passover. According to the Bible, he was greeted by throngs of people laying down their cloaks and palm leaves on his path in celebration of his coming, a stark contrast to what will happen just days later.
Maundy Thursday and Good Friday also take place during Holy Week. Christians celebrate Maundy Thursday as the day on which Jesus and his disciples celebrate the Last Supper of Christ, today known as communion to many. And, in the largest misnomer in history, Good Friday commemorates Jesus’ trial, persecution and death on the cross.
Interestingly, Holy Week doesn’t end with Easter, when Jesus rises from the tomb just as he said he would. But the end is actually Holy Saturday, or Easter Vigil, the day before Easter.
Holy Week and Easter together are the pinnacle of the Christian calendar, an eight-day span in which Christians hold the world’s despair, sin, death and injustice in tension with the sheer and utter joy experienced in knowing that Jesus conquers all of the world’s evil by rising from the grave.
Millions of faithful, even those who long ago gave up on institutionalized religion, will flock to places of worship to witness the miracle of Easter morning, and to hear their faith leaders declare: “He is not here, but has risen!” (Luke 24:5)
Some might wonder why celebrate Easter at all in the face of current global circumstances. What joy possibly can be found in the unjust war in Ukraine, people still dying from COVID, and poverty and oppression raging all around us?
But the joy of Jesus Christ conquering death and evil on Easter morning IS why! Faithful the world over will gather, taking hope in the resurrection despite the despair we see all around us because God is not done in this world. He has risen from the grave and still is very active in current events.
That is why we celebrate … We celebrate that God is not done with this world yet!
Easter is about resurrection, about conquering death, about renewal of a world that clings to unfair and devastating earthly values rather than the values exhibited in God’s Kingdom.
And even in this year, when it seems we cannot escape the cloud of despair enveloping this earth, we still celebrate the Son of God, coming to earth to live among us, suffering like us and voluntarily taking death to his grave with him so that we don’t have to.
Hallelujah! … The Lord has risen indeed!
Devlyn Brooks, who works for Modulist, a Forum Communications Co.-owned company, is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. He serves as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Wolverton, Minnesota. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for comments and story ideas.