We Lutherans occasionally say we live in the now and the not yet. We live and work and play and worship as part of the secular world even while we proclaim the Reign of God is at hand. We are called to be followers of Christ, working to bring about God’s goal for the reconciliation of the universe.
We are now in April, the season of spring. But I would like to suggest that the Church’s liturgical calendar can help root us more firmly in that part of our calling that is so easy to put aside. We are in the middle of Lent- the season of repentance, introspection and following Jesus as He goes to the Cross, for our sake. Even though chocolate bunnies, peeps and baskets of candy fill the aisles, we are not there yet. Before we get to the glorious season of Easter, there is another time frame in the Church that we too often skip - The Three Days.
On Maundy Thursday we hear the Words of Jesus: This is my Body, This is my Blood. His final meal with the disciples, the humility of Jesus washing their feet and the commandment: 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." (John 13:34-35).
Good Friday- according to Sundays and Seasons: “At the heart of Good Friday liturgy is the passion according to John, which proclaims Jesus as a triumphant king who reigns from the cross. The ancient title for this day-the triumph of the cross-reminds us that the church gathers not to mourn this day but to celebrate Christ’s life-giving passion and to find strength and hope in the tree of life.
Saturday is the Vigil of Easter- we gather to hear the salvation history of God’s great acts through all times. It is our “Passover with Christ from darkness to light, from bondage to freedom, from death to life. Tonight is the celebration of the Three Days and the pinnacle of the church’s year” (Sundays and Seasons) We proclaim the Resurrection of Christ, share in His Holy Eucharist and go out to share the Good News of Jesus’s victory over sin, death and the devil.
I pray that this Lenten season is bringing you closer to God, giving you time for thought and prayer and renewed devotion. I invite you to immerse yourself into the Three Days.