Rising Above the Mess!
It is the shortest verse in the Bible. Jesus was standing at the tomb of his friend, Lazarus, and John simply says “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) But this isn’t the only time Jesus shed tears. Only a short time later, Luke tells us that as he drew near to Jerusalem, Jesus looked out over the holy city and “wept over it”. (Luke 19:41)
Isn’t it something that Jesus, the One who was before all creation, the very One God sent to be our Lord and Savior, felt such grief that he was moved to weep for us? For Lazarus and his family, Jesus felt deeply the pain of their loss, just as he feels our pain when we lose someone we love. “Blessed are those who mourn,” Jesus had said early in his ministry.
But Jesus also weeps for us and our world. Jesus knew well the power that sin has over us and how it takes hold of our heart and sows only hatred and hurt and corruption. He wasn’t weeping for himself, he knew his purpose for coming; he was weeping for us and the sordid mess we have made of our world.
And it is a mess. There is still so much evil and suffering in our world. Power and greed rule over nearly every regime or country or government, and people don’t seem to matter at all; or so it seems to me. Sadly, even America isn’t immune. As a nation, we are more divided than anytime
I can remember in my life—politically, socially, ethnically, ideologically, religiously, you name it. So, where is our compassion? Where is our basic sense of goodness? Where is our humanity?
Or is it only the “bottom line” that matters anymore? No wonder Jesus weeps over our world.
And so, the One who was at the beginning of creation and who, says Paul, “emptied himself, taking the form of a servant…humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5- 9), that we might live not under the burden of sin but rather under the blessing of grace.
What happened on Good Friday represented the worst of humanity, but God wasn’t finished! The story wasn’t over! The tomb was empty! The Christ who died for us didn’t stay dead! He was alive again! And he lives with and within us even today! Thanks be to God!
And so, for me, the Day of Resurrection takes us
to the pinnacle of our worship celebration. It is the one Sunday of the year from which flows all of our Sunday celebrations. And yes, I will probably choke up as we sing “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” just as I have for the past thirty Easter Sundays as a pastor under appointment. But that’s okay. It is more than a special day to me, and I hope it is that way for you, too. Indeed, it is a day that means everything to us as a church and as Christians.
And in that spirit, we are moving our celebration back to the Porter Center this year. Why? There are several reasons. Two years ago, we were forced to worship there due to the repair of our sanctuary ceiling. It turned out to be an amazing worship experience. We had a full house with around 750
in attendance, including students, families visiting Brevard for the holiday, and members from our three worship services.
It was such a great day, in fact, we have been look- ing at doing it again after receiving encouragement from many of you and Dr. David Joyce, president of Brevard College. This year seemed like a good time to go back. Easter is a few weeks later, students are on campus, and more people will be visiting the area. What a great opportunity for outreach! And to share the greatest good news we can ever have!
See you in worship!
In the love of Christ,