Friday’s Here, but Sunday’s Comin’!
General Wellington commanded the victorious forces at the great battle of Waterloo that effectively ended the Napoleonic Wars. Historians tell the story that when the battle was over, Wellington sent the great news of his victory to England. A series of stations, one within sight of the next, had been established to send code messages between England and the continent. The message to be sent was "Wellington defeated Napoleon at Waterloo." Meanwhile a fog set in and interrupted the process. As a result, people only saw "Wellington defeated--" Later, the fog cleared and the full message continued, which was quite different from the outcome that the people originally thought had happened!
The same is true when we look at Holy Week. On Good Friday the best gift that God ever gave us, the gift of Jesus, was tortured and brutally murdered. If we stopped there we would see only defeat and the triumph of the mighty over the weak, hate over love, and death over life. Yet, on Sunday morning the tomb burst open, and all those evils laid in ruin. When the fog lifts, we see the Resurrection which spells victory.
The world today is full of Good Friday news—another mass shooting of two synagogues in Christchurch, NZ, corruption in high places, accelerating climate change, dictators with nuclear weapons… never mind our own personal battles. At times the message seems to be, "Planet earth defeated! “But that is only part of the story. "We are Easter people and alleluia is our song!" is how St. Augustine put it. As "people of the open tomb," we have a right to expect that God's new creation will break in on us in surprising ways--and despite ourselves. In 2003 I heard Archbishop Desmond Tutu say at a public forum, “People never expected South Africa to be a place of reconciliation and freedom. It was against all odds. But here I am today saying it was a miracle of God.” Indeed! What are signs of Resurrection life here at the First Baptist Church of Wakefield?
Lent is a season which calls us to introspection and repentance. But if it stays there it is deadly. It needs to end with the Easter announcement of reconciliation and healing. Holy Week here at First Baptist Church is going to try to follow that rhythm this year.
On Palm Sunday (April 14) we distribute the palms and hear the Passion Story as we enter Holy Week.
On Maundy Thursday 6 p.m. (April 18) FBC will host a Maundy Thursday service for First Parish and ourselves with appropriate readings, music, and communion.
On Good Friday 6 p.m. (April 19) First Parish has invited us to share in their Good Friday service as we invited them to ours.
An Easter Sunrise Service 6 a.m. (April 21) will be held at Rabbit Island (at the end of Linda Road, by the Yacht Club) as we celebrate the rising Son. Breakfast will follow at First Parish.
The Festival of the Resurrection 10:30 a.m. (April 21) in the Covell Chapel with special music.
This promises to be a powerful week of renewal and worship. We hope to see you at several of these services and that you experience the reality of the risen Christ.