I am writing this article on March 19th, Monday of the fifth week of Lent. I am looking forward to the celebration of the glorious Easter. I am also aware that the road to Easter has to pass through the desert of darkness and despair.
One of the news headlines I read this morning is about the fourth bomb explosion in Austin, which injured two men. The first three explosions in the past three weeks left two people dead and two others injured. The police now believe that a ‘serial bomber’ is on the loose. What is going to happen next? Austin is on the edge. I can understand why so many people in Austin feel frightened.
I am deeply saddened by so much senseless violence in the country in recent months.
On February 14, 2018, a gunman opened fire on a high school in parkland, Florida, killing 17 people.
On November 5, 2017, 26 people were killed in a mass shooting during a church service in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
The Las Vegas shooting of October 1, 2017, left 58 people dead and 851 injured.
We grieve with the families of the victims. We lament the loss of innocent lives.
I can image some victim families may have prayed with the very words that Martha and Mary said to Jesus when they lost their brother Lazarus: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
The poignancy of these words must have pierced the heart of the Son of Man. Jesus began to weep with Mary and Martha.
God became a human being in the person of Jesus and lived a fully human life. His heart was broken as he saw what sin and evil did to hurt, distort, and to destroy life. At last, he even experienced death himself in order to swallow death and defeat sin.
“Your brother will rise again…I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” The Lord asked Martha and Mary. Today he asks you and me whether we believe his words or not.
Those who have been wounded and broken in body and spirit yearn for healing and new beginning.
Those who have been sitting through the dark night of agony and sorrow long for the daybreak.
Hope becomes the strongest when despair is tempered with faith in Jesus, who won the decisive battle against sin and death on Easter.
Easter is the foundation of our faith and hope.
How can we know the joys of the Easter without crying out with the Son of Man, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
How can we have hope in the midst of death and despair without believing, trusting, and loving God?
Rumi, a great Persian poet and mystic of 13th century, said well,
God’s Eternal Grace always, in the end, transforms agony into remedy, grief into healing, and destruction into prosperity.
(This article was written for Mountain Mover (April, 2018), the monthly newsletter of Faith Lutheran Church, https://faithbellaire.org/about-2/mountain-mover-newsletter )