Making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. - Mission Statement of the United Methodist Church, adopted 2008With Holy Week about to begin, as we move from the triumphal entry to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday through the betrayal on Maundy Thursday, the crucifixion on Good Friday, the silence of the tomb on Holy Saturday, and the first declaration of the Good News on Easter morning, I think it is important to be in prayer and contemplation for what these events mean for us.
Not in terms of our salvation. The overarching reality of the passion narrative is that this is God's work for us, full and sufficient for the purpose for which it was divinely ordained and intended: the reconciliation of fallen creation with God.
Getting stuck on that, as far too many Christians tend to be, makes the entire enterprise small. It also makes God small, powerless in the face of human freedom and the snares of the Devil. For far too many, however, it is preferable to consider themselves on the inside while the rest of creation slides irrevocably to perdition.
What, then, is this reconciliation for?
We exist, we have been created, we have been saved, in order to declare to the world the simple reality revealed in Jesus of Nazareth: That God is love, and wants us to acknowledge that love in all we say and do.
This simple reality, this kernel within the husk of dogma and two thousand years of excess verbiage, is the most revolutionary force ever. We need no longer fear our separation from the God who creates and sustains us; God has offered the Divine Life in order that we may yet live and love in the never-ending presence of Love Incarnate. Our job - and we do have one - is to get the word out to the rest of the world that there is nothing to fear any longer. There is nothing in others to fear and hate. There is nothing even in death, that last enemy whose time has come even if it isn't aware of it, that can separate us from the love we have from the Father in the Son through the Spirit.
As we move through the days and events of the coming week, even as we hear the call to remember the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, we are to give praise and thanksgiving to God. We are to get the word out about this love. Doing that might just change everything.