Is our view of community worship – and our view of God – expansive enough to account for the deep-seated pain and sorrow in and around us?
We recently celebrated Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Resurrection Sunday. In preparation, my students and I crafted four worship gatherings for our campus community leading up to Good Friday. As we prepared we talked about remembrance, worship, death, resurrection, sacrifice, shame, hope, and many other things. As followers of Jesus – particularly for those of us who are evangelicals – it can be difficult for us not to “skip to Sunday” when we think about Easter. After all, we are resurrection people! The violence and agony of crucifixion, the darkness and weight of sin, the grief and solemnity of burial, the discomfort and restlessness of waiting, all grate against my neat and tidy sensibilities, my sense of control, my desire for comfort. My student leaders and I wrestled with these tensions as we prayed and planned together. We tried to give voice to the hope of resurrection life without trivializing the price God paid to secure it on our behalf.
Without Friday and Saturday, without Holy Week, without Lent – in fact, without continual reminders of my great need and God’s great love – the earth-shaking reality of Sunday does not cause me to tremble in holy fear or worship as I should. However, I also realize that, along with all who have believed in and declared Jesus as Lord, I have been adopted as God’s child. This is cause for celebration, joy, and gratitude. Throughout the planning process with my student leaders, I couldn’t help but think again about what it means to live well in this tension. It even relates to music itself, which “stands under the shadow of the fall and the promise of redemption” (Jeremy Begbie, Theology, Music, and Time, 147).
Photo courtesy of Jannes Glas