Dear Church Family,
This is our second Holy Week together as pastor and congregation. And it is our second Holy Week together in a pandemic. I recently told someone that I am looking forward to celebrating Easter at Second Baptist Church when there is not a pandemic so that we can all worship together in person on the holiest day of the year. But the blessings of Holy Week transcend our current challenges and confer spiritual strength to face them with faith.
Maundy Thursday, also known as Commandment Thursday, is when we remember the new commandment Christ pronounces in John 13:34-35: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” How do we detect a disciple of Jesus? We look for love. How do we detect an authentic church? We look for love. How do we make it through another pandemic Holy Week? We love one another.
Good Friday, also known as Holy Friday, is when we commemorate Christ’s death on the cross. The cross stands at the center of Christian faith as the heart stands at the center of the human body. Christ was born for us, yes, as the Word of God made flesh. Christ lived for us, yes, as the way, the truth, and the life. Christ also died for us, to reconcile us to God. “While we were yet sinners,” writes the Apostle Paul, “Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Through Christ’s death, we are reconciled to God and we reconcile with one another.
Easter Sunday, also known as Resurrection Sunday, is when we celebrate Christ’s resurrection. After he died on Friday, he was dead as a brick. They buried him in a tomb and left him there for roughly 36 hours. Then a few faithful women returned to the tomb early on Sunday morning to give him a proper burial, but he had already vanquished death and vacated the tomb. There has never been a proper funeral for Jesus Christ. The reason is that he arose from the dead and appeared to his disciples saying, “Do not be afraid” (Matthew 28:10). We have a Savior who has conquered death, who has blazed the path to everlasting life, and who is with us always (Matthew 28:20). In light of this, we walk in resurrection power.
This is good news that abides regardless of our earthly circumstances. Even in our second consecutive pandemic Holy Week, the living Christ is with us. And that means everything.
Pastor Noel Schoonmaker