For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
1 Corinthians 15:25-26
On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
I potted a new plant in my office this morning. A cutting from a friend’s thriving houseplant, it was once just a tiny leaf, propagated in water until it bore new roots. Now, delivered into fresh soil, well watered, and sunning happily as it finds rest and nourishment in its new home. The act of cutting a leaf with the hopes of sticking it back in soil to someday thrive seems preposterous. Impossible. Certain death. Unless, of course, you understand how plants work (I don’t, but fortunately, my friend does, and I am good at following instructions!).
All I know is that this act of certain death, intermixed with the hope of a someday-thriving plant, mirrors the truth found in the season of Easter beautifully. God has given us all of creation to praise and reflect Christ’s glory!
The culmination of Holy Week reminds us of the duality of life—that the grief we remember in the crucifixion of Jesus is real and palpable, and yet the hope we have in the resurrection points to more—to the possibility of new and abundant life that comes when death is defied, overcome, and instead new life is breathed into being.
In the ultimate act of defiance, Jesus surrendered to the reality of death in order that he might overcome its power on our behalf, once and for all. For three days, all of creation held its breath, watching and waiting in the silence of the severing—the cutting, the certain end to all that was right and good—only to exhale with jubilation and celebration as the stone rolled away and Christ planted his feet firmly on the ground outside the tomb. The hope of thriving, of all things being made new, restored and right. The enemy defeated at last!
This is the hope and the tension of Easter. There will be a time when Jesus returns and all is restored as it should be. For now, even when all looks dark and death is upon us, there is a promise of life and life abundant.
“You are the very author of life, and
the conqueror of death, who has promised
to remake this world, this sky, these gardens
and cities and stars, and also, yes, my own
failing flesh, raising it new and imperishable.”
– Douglas McKelvey, A Liturgy for Dying Well
Reflect on your experience this Holy Week. Where were you challenged or encouraged? Perhaps it was to surrender your life to Jesus, take a step in baptism, or connect with Rooted. Find your next steps here.