A few years ago, there was a news story about a co-pilot who purposely took down a plane with 150 people on board. In seconds, lives were lost.
One moment, a passenger was laughing with a fellow travel and the next, he was diving straight into the side of a mountain. Another was cuddling her child, then screams brought recognition of impending doom.
In a strange way, the tragedy and others like it, focus my thoughts on this Holy Week. From palm branches waiving, people shouting, “Hosanna” during the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, to the night Jesus was betrayed and later hung on the cross, much changed for His followers. Elation gave way to despair. The Christ suffered and was put to death. What must the witnesses have thought?
Did they give in to momentary despair like the people in the airplane must have done? Did they try to remain optimistic, recalling the prophetic words of Christ and the Scriptures? In the natural, all appeared to be lost. The cup of suffering was not removed.
Philip Yancey, in his book, The Jesus I Never Knew, points out that when Christ gave breath to his last words, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” He used the word, “God” instead of “Abba” or “Father.” He notes Christ felt abandoned from the Father during His darkest hour.
When tragedy strikes, that same sense of momentary abandonment is felt. But in the spiritual realm, the darkness of Good Friday eventually gives way to the light of Easter morning. Yancey says, Easter holds out the promise of reversibility. Destruction and even death can be reversed because of what Christ accomplished on the Cross. Easter is the starting point. It is a preview of an ultimate reality. Our present lives are the contradiction of what is to come.
So as the families of the German flight passengers tried to make sense of senseless tragedy, and the rest of us struggle through our emotional “wreckage” that often makes no sense, Easter brings hope. If God could do what He did on Easter, then what more does He have for us eternally? Easter is a glimpse of eternity.
Yancey also makes a point about the physical scars on Christ’s transformed body: Signs of his suffering remain as a reminder that painful memories may never completely go away, but the hurt of those scars eventually will. As we rebuild our lives from devastating times, remember that Holy Week reminds us that someday, we all get a new start. Tears will be gone. Suffering will be no more.
And that is the hope of the Easter!The hope of Easter