An Easter Week ReflectionApr 13, 2022
Blog by Gem Fadling
Here’s a little known and rather obscure fact: I have a one-inch scar on my left wrist. One day, as a youngster enjoying a warm summer day, I followed my friend out the front door and into our next adventure. I tried catching the glass upper half of the screen door with my hands before it could hit me in the face.
Unfortunately, my hand broke the glass and went straight through that portion of the door. It’s a miracle that I only have one scar. And the cut was in just the right shape and size that it didn’t hit any major vessels.
I seldom think about or acknowledge that scar. It’s there and yet I pay absolutely no attention to it. It’s become a faded memory of a summer long ago.
Awhile back, when I happened to notice my scar, a thought came to mind: “By his stripes we are healed.” I paused for a moment and pictured Jesus and his scars. It is possible that the nails were driven into Jesus’s wrists to hold the weight of his body. If so, my scar is in approximately the same place as his.
But I am confident that, unlike me, Jesus has never forgotten his scars. His scars were chosen. His scars were willingly received. His scars were because of love.
Since this is Holy Week, I’d like to walk us briefly through the three movements of this weekend:
Dying. Waiting. Rising.
Jesus walked this journey from a place of deep and abiding love. We remember his dying on Good Friday, and of course we remember his rising on Easter Sunday. But not many people pause on Holy Saturday to remember the waiting.
This is a pattern we can all recognize from our own lives, though. Nature itself is in a continual state of dying, waiting, and rising. And so are we.
I’m going to share a short meditation on each of the three movements.
But before we begin with this liturgical trio, let’s stop off on Thursday. What was Jesus doing on what we now call Maundy Thursday? He was washing feet.
PREPARATION (Maundy Thursday)
Jesus said that he came to be the servant of all. He washed the disciples’ feet as one of his last acts before his crucifixion. He left no doubt in the minds of his followers: humble servanthood is his WAY.
It's the WAY of Jesus that so often gets forgotten. Foot washing was one of the most lowly tasks. Cleaning stinky, dirt-crusted feet…this is the Jesus WAY.
On Maundy Thursday we remember Jesus as the humble servant. This puts an exclamation point on the ways of Jesus shown throughout the Gospels: eating with the “wrong” people...healing on the “wrong” day…serving instead of being served.
The ultimate in humility—this was Jesus's way. Not power, prestige, fame, or control.
The Jesus Way.
Humility. Washing the feet of his disciples, whom he chose to call friends.
Humility. Around the table, one at a time…24 dirty, smelly feet.
What might each disciple have said…or not said? What was going through their minds?
We know Peter protested. But what about Judas? Judas’s heart was already turned, and yet Jesus washed his feet.
What kind of man is this? What kind of God is this? Humble. Gentle. Caring. Strong. Capable. Unconditionally loving.
The Jesus Way.
DYING (Good Friday)
Good Friday is when we remember Jesus’s death on the cross.
And while there is New Testament language that talks about "redemption," "wages," "price," "redeem," "propitiation," and "ransom," I'd like to think that these terms are not sterile, transactional ideas.
There is a profound and relational aspect to all that Jesus did while on earth. Part of my journey has been to let go of the transactional nature of the gospel and take hold of the mind-boggling reality of what Jesus said and did.
I find Jesus to be a most compelling person. And the fact that he went all the way to death shows his willingness to partake in the fullness of the human experience. But then, like he did with everything else, Jesus turns death on its head and rises from the grave (but we’ll save that for Sunday).
Good Friday is the day we remember Jesus showing his ultimate and non-negotiatiable love for us. And it is the day we remember that death is cruel and grievous. The disciples didn’t have our hindsight. They only knew that it...was...over.
Where in your life right now does it seem like “it’s over”? Let the crucified Christ be with you in that place.
This is Good Friday, the death before the resurrection. Take time to soak in the reality of this deepest kind of love.
WAITING (Holy Saturday)
Richard Rohr describes Holy Saturday in three simple sentences: "Sitting in love. Waiting without answers. Hoping without evidence."
Holy Saturday is for all of us who are waiting for something. We have no answers. We have no evidence. We simply wait. And we hope.
Imagine you are one of Jesus’s disciples. Yesterday you saw him crucified and buried. This doesn't make any sense. Your teacher and friend is gone. This can't be right! The grief. The loss. You ask yourself, “What will I do?”
If you are in deep pain and are in a place of waiting through that process, Holy Saturday is the day on the church calendar when you are deeply, lovingly acknowledged. The loss is real. The waiting is real.
The disciples did not understand about the resurrection that would come the next day. They only knew their grief and loss.
We are in the here and now. We know how the story continues. Resurrection did happen. But for today we will sit in the unknowing, the loss, the confusion.
Let yourself be seen in this place. Give yourself permission to grieve. It's okay to await resurrection, but don't miss the beauty of the waiting.
RISING (Easter Sunday)
Here I’ll simply share some inspiring scripture. Truths that are now ours because of the resurrection.
“And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.” (Romans 6:4)
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)
We look forward to hearing the words on Easter Sunday—He is risen! He is risen indeed and is alive forevermore!
Notice which part of Holy Week you resonate with most:
- Are you in a time of suffering? Is something within you or around you dying?
- Are you in a season of waiting? In the in-between?
- Is this a time of resurrection and coming alive?
Wherever you find yourself, remember this: Jesus knows firsthand what it feels like to be in your situation, whether dying, waiting, or rising. So let Jesus attend to you now.
P.S. This is actually the script for this week’s episode of the I Can Do That! Podcast. I wanted you to have it here so you can reflect on it this Easter week. Blessings!