This time of year I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Jesus' disciples. The emotional roller coaster they found themselves on just kept on rolling for the disciples. First, there was Palm Sunday, then there was Good Friday, then there was Easter, and as we'll be reminded in upcoming weeks (post-resurrection) there was also fear and doubt. Elation, deflation, elation, deflation.
And now we too, are about to enter the holiest of weeks in the Christian Church with this upcoming Palm and Passion Sunday. If you are one, or a family, who fully embraces and participates in all of the Holy Week services, you understand the rollercoaster of emotions the disciples were on, and that await us. If you have not participated in the Holy Week experience, I encourage you to come and see and experience the elation and deflation that is Holy Week.
To help us understand I share this story that has been told about Albert Einstein, the brilliant physicist of Princeton University in the early 20th century. Einstein was traveling from Princeton on a train, and when the conductor came down the aisle to punch the passengers’ tickets, Einstein couldn’t find his. He looked in his vest pocket, he looked in his pants pocket, he looked in his briefcase, but there was no ticket. The conductor was gracious; “Not to worry, Dr. Einstein, I know who you are, we all know who you are, and I’m sure you bought a ticket.” As the conductor moved down the aisle, he looked back and noticed Einstein on his hands and knees, searching under the seat for his ticket. The conductor returned to Einstein; “Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry. I know who you are. You don’t need a ticket, I’m sure you bought one.” Einstein arose and said “Young man, I too know who I am; what I don’t know is where I am going.”
And that is the good news of Holy Week and Easter; that we know where we are going. It would be frightening to have experienced the first Holy Week with all of the surrounding uncertainties and unknowns. The disciples likely would not have known, through all the ups and downs and twists and turns, where they were going or where they were to end up.
We have been told by the Jesus that his life and death (and all of the suffering and persecution throughout) has promised us life eternal. Nothing has ever, or can, change that promise. Unemployment doesn’t change that promise. Neither does divorce, or bankruptcy, or cancer, or depression, or felony, or failure. Even the unimaginable horror of what unfolded at the Covenant Elementary School in Nashville this week, cannot change the eternal elation of resurrection.
In the midst of this upcoming Holy Week and through elation and deflation and every emotion in between, the truth remains; we know whose we are and we know where we are going, because the Son of God - who is the way, the truth, and the life - has promised us.
See you in Church! (and bring a friend!)