Hosanna to Hallelujah … and beyond!
Spring has sprung! By the time you read this, we will have passed the Vernal Equinox, changed our clocks to British Summer Time, and be enjoying the flowers appearing in the fields, verges, and gardens. Signs of new life everywhere!
From ancient times, people living in these islands we call home have celebrated the change of season, welcoming the life bursting forth from nest and den, branch and bud – new life breaking out of the cold, dark ground!
For the past 2023 (or so) years, Christians have celebrated Easter at this time of year. The date of Christian Easter is linked with the New Moon and the Jewish Festival of Passover, which just happen to coincide with the change of seasons in the Northern Hemisphere. Just as new-born lambs cannot hold in their energy as they gambol across the fields and hills, so the grave could not hold Jesus! We celebrate Jesus being raised from death – New Life bursting from the cold, dark tomb!
It all sounds very poetic and idyllic, and has inspired much art and literature …
BUT … first we remember that He died! Crucified by the Romans at the request of the religious authorities for stirring up the people. Good Friday is the most important day in the Church’s calendar – God’s Friday, when everything changed. For everybody. For ever.
As the Jews prepared to sacrifice lambs to remember the Passover (when they were freed from slavery in Egypt) Jesus was executed. The same Jesus, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, now died like a common criminal even though He was innocent. He became the Lamb of God, sacrificed in the place of the guilty – you and me – to put us right with God.
The theology trips off my tongue (or keyboard), and may even sound exciting, but it is hard for the Western mind to comprehend. We don’t practice animal sacrifice to pacify and appease gods, so the idea that Jesus somehow “paid the price” for our sin (the things which keep us apart from God and His Love) is not a natural concept for us in 21st Century Cairn Valley. I cannot explain how it works any more than I can explain the workings of the laptop I sit at as I type. But I know it does work! When people put their faith in Jesus it opens up the way to a relationship with the truly Infinite, truly Eternal God. Even today! Ask around …
As human beings we are designed to ‘tune-in’ to the universe in all its dimensions (11 at the last count), not just the physical 3-D that dominates our thoughts and actions. Our being has a spiritual side to it, something beyond our mortal, time-limited consciousness, which has the potential to allow us to relate to God. What Jesus did in living, dying, and rising again, enables that relationship to be re-kindled, opening us to His Love in all sorts of ways – 3-D and beyond! The offer of Eternal Life is about the beyond coming into our lives now, as well as for Eternity!
HOLY WEEK goes from Palm Sunday, through Maundy Thursday, Good Friday to Easter Day. We start with Hosannas, learn how Jesus wanted us to remember Him, sit at the foot of the Cross, then wait … for the joy of Resurrection!
As you celebrate Easter (up a hill, or in church), enjoy a Treasure Hunt, eat the chocolate eggs, and enjoy the warmer (!?) weather, let each sign of new life remind you of the New Life Jesus came (and died) to bring. From Hosanna to Hallelujah via ‘Crucify Him’ is a true rollercoaster of emotions. Join us to find out more.
May God Bless you.