This letter is to you, the doubter. A person who likes Jesus but can’t make certain leaps of faith. This is to you, the person afraid to roll aside the rock at the tomb because you’re 99% sure there’s a dead body in there.
This is Holy Week. Last Sunday marked Jesus’ arrival into Jerusalem, shouts of joy ringing in his ears. Children waved palm branches and smiled, adults greeted a savior with their hearts full of hope.
By Thursday, one of Jesus’ closest followers betrayed him to the authorities. That night, another of his dearest friends insisted they had never met. You can believe that, it happens all the time.
By Friday, the people who cheered his arrival now cheered his torture and humiliation. The most powerful army in the world laid him on his back and drove nails through him. He was erected into the air and put on display so the world could laugh at him, so that his followers would hide in shame. He suffered, he bled, he died. It’s brutal but it’s true, and it happens all the time.
This letter is to you, the person who has always struggled with the idea that Jesus was more than human. People can’t magically multiply food, can’t heal with a touch, can’t calm a storm with their voice. You believe what you see, and you’ve never seen a miracle. So there.
For the next few days, the entire church is with you. We’ll gather on Thursday for a special time of being together, to remember the very human last night that Jesus spent with his closest followers. We’ll meet on Friday to stare at the cross on the hill, hanging our heads in disbelief as the one we love breathes shallow, ragged breaths, and dies. We’ll lower the body, wrap it with care, and lay it to rest. This is when we come to grips with the fact that we lost.
If you’re a doubter, a skeptic, a person who can’t say “Jesus is Lord,” this letter is for you. There’s no better time of the year for you to join us in church. There are no miracles here, just a good man with great teachings and a dream of a better world. Maundy Thursday is a memorial, Good Friday is a wake. We’ll laugh and we’ll cry and we’ll give thanks that it lasted as long as it did.
Everybody loves a good wake. Join us this week as we remember the good times and bury someone we loved.
Oh, and keep Sunday free.