The In-Between Times

19 03 2016

We will be in Holy Week when this article will be  published in a local newspaper.  I am sure it is not an original thought. It is universal and autobiographical.

This week, the shouts of “Hosanna” on Palm Sunday will be a faint memory as  plots thicken and deceit grows. Preparation for an upper room and Jesus’ last supper are underway,

Judas will have struck his deal for 30 coins and the followers of Jesus will be living life as usual, unaware. The unholy alliance of Government and their puppet rulers  Herod, Pilate and the pious élite will soon be on full display.

Jesus will wash feet, share a last meal with this closest followers, pray for them and  pray for a way around the reality that is looming large. Disciples will fall asleep on the job. Judas will deliver his  kiss of death to Jesus. Peter will deny knowing Jesus 3 times before dawn. Soon the early morning march to a Pilate will begin.

The crowd that hailed Jesus as a savior on Sunday will petition for a pardon for a terrorist and raise their voices condemning  an innocent man to die on Friday. Pilate will try to wash his hands of responsibly. Don’t we all?

Jesus will suffer public humiliation,  be whipped and a crown of thorns will dig into the flesh of his brow. The crowds that lined the streets for His entrance as King and Deliverer now fall silent as he carries a cross up the winding, narrow path to Golgotha and execution. In less than a week he is cheered and jeered by the same people.

The slaughter of the innocent, begun by another tyrant named Herod some 3 decades ago , is done. Jesus tells all who would hear, ” It is finished.”  He hung his head as the last gasp of mortal breath left his body.

The sky turns black as if all of creation grieves, save for those who love darkness  as they celebrate in the darkness of their own hearts.

The curtain of the temple came down. Finished.

In the next 3 hours a  hurried and incomplete burial in a borrowed grave is completed and the sun falls beyond the horizon . Done, put to rest; just not in peace. The first day was over.

Disciples, family and followers hide and try find a place of rest in the shadows as the night grows on.  Eventually the ‘what if’ conversations begin. What if I had not fallen asleep? What if I had not denied him? What if I had not betrayed him with a kiss? What if….they find us? Will we be next?!

The sun came out on Saturday, the second day,  but the warmth never made its way into hearts or behind closed windows,. Grief blocked the light of day. Grief is like that, wanting to get the pain over but seeing nothing but pain. Jesus was dead, put to rest. Hope? Buried with Him.

Then, the third day. Like the opening of the second act of a play, the curtain draws back again and the stage of creation is bathed  in new light. The God who called light from darkness in creation  spoke up. The One who called order from chaos ushered in a new order. He who once was pronounced dead was alive. Hope, once locked away in the fortress of death  now lives. Jesus lives!

Some had left after the previous act. The show was over for them. He died, end of story. Judas gave up. Disciples what back to life before meeting Jesus. Many others did then and still do now. “Forget the rumors. They are just that” a realist says. The broken-hearted say, “Dismiss the hope, it will just lead to further disappointment.” They lived then and still live now , not  in an in-between time but an it is all-over place.

I have lived in times that were “In-between” and that can seem like the end. That is a human reality. We know the joy of riding high and the pain of falling off. So, this is our story , too. Maybe you are in one of those in-between times. Maybe you know someone who is. If so, remember how this story ends. It doesn’t end with death. It ends with resurrection, not the old life make better or longer -but a NEW life.

Jesus died, and Jesus rose.  As the saying goes,” Don’t put a period where God has put a comma. Stay for the second act!!   It is out of this world And in this world!!