We know how the story ends
Walking into First United Methodist Church on Tuesday at noon, on a perfect spring day, I recalled what Father Adrian Cook had described a day earlier at the ecumenical Holy Week service at St. Maurice Catholic Church.
He called Holy Week “this most solemn week of the year.”
How, I wondered, could we focus on that solemnity on such a beautiful spring afternoon?
Cook himself helped me answer that question a few minutes later. In his message from the pulpit at First United Methodist, he reminded us that “there is more than one type of joy in the world.”
Beyond the exuberant joy, “there is a more reflective, deeper joy,” he said.
Holy Week, for Christians, falls into that category. “The days of Holy Week are days of quiet, solemn reflection,” Cook said. “But they also do bring us joy.”
We know how the story ends. I sometimes try to imagine what it must have been like for Jesus’ followers, who must have fought to cling to their faith in what would be His resurrection when all seemed lost.
For us, that mystery has been solved, so we are able to feel that quiet, contemplative joy, even as we celebrate the three solemn days that marked Christ’s great sacrifice for us.
Likewise, Cook quoted from the Exultant, a fifth century hymn often used during the Easter vigil, which speaks of Adam’s sin as a “happy fall.” The phrase does not celebrate sin, Cook said; rather, “it is celebrating the limitless mercy of God.”
And the point of Lent and Holy Week is to prepare for that celebration, although, like Christ’s disciples, we can never be ready for it.
We know now how the story ends. And we know that it is just the beginning.
Kerry Whipple Bean is publisher of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 867-4876 or by e-mail at email@example.com.