by Rev Dr Andrew Peh

In his article, “Before You Celebrate Easter….” (http://www.ministrymatters.com/all/blog/entry/4906/blog-before-you-celebrate-easter-get-real?), Frederick Schmidt poignantly wrote:

The church, no less than our culture is caught up in the denial of death. As a result, we rush over both “Good Friday” and “Holy Saturday,” preferring to emphasize the Resurrection. As a result, the message we send is that “Jesus died, BUT he was resurrected.” The failure to sit with the reality of death has a number of unintended consequences: We fail to own the full experience of loss that Jesus experienced, reducing him to someone “who has seen the movie,” but who doesn’t really comprehend what it means to die. We minimize the significance of death for us as individuals and as bearers of God’s image. We force people confronting loss in their own lives to sublimate their pain in order to celebrate one more “happy clappy” church holiday, and we rob the resurrection of its full significance. Those are serious losses in a world that needs to hear from a church that should be realistic and hopeful.

He reminds us that “It’s time for the church to get real. Easter cannot mean what it should mean without fully appreciating the gravity and loss of the two days that precede it. And resurrection hope is reduced to wishful thinking when we fail to observe the spiritual gravity of the two days that precedes our celebration of the resurrection.”

As we approach enter Holy Week, let’s take time to contemplate on the suffering, death and supreme sacrifice of Jesus. Let’s linger a little longer over the course of this week. Let us tarry a little more at the foot of the cross of Jesus. For only then may we better join with Isaac Watts in his proclamation, “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all!” For only then, can we better appreciate the mystery of a love that conquered even death!