Like many of you, I have been rationing my exposure to the news about Ukraine. I want and need to stay informed, but the inhumanity of what is unfolding there is simply too hard to look at.
In the same way, we don’t like to look at the crucifixion, either.
We ration our exposure to the suffering of Christ. We prefer his teachings, his sayings, his parables, and his healings. His suffering and death? It is an important part of the story, sure, but we’d rather not dwell on it.
But we have to look. We have to see. Especially now. We are those called to be witnesses to what is happening in Ukraine even as we are called to be those who witness the horror of the cross.
If we are not witnesses, then those who suffer and die do so alone. And we can’t have that.
The agony of Christ’s torture and death is mirrored in the terror of those people who are now in mass graves and those children who have been raped. Each day the nails are driven in a little further.
We need to look and we need to witness because this kind of carnage needs to matter; just as Christ’s death needed to matter. And it does matter. The story of Holy Week tells us that it is in Christ’s death that we find hope.
The torturous death of Christ and his time in his grave led to a day that changed everything. It became an occasion to experience the power of God. An important thing to remember about the empty tomb is that it had been emptied. In other words, it wasn’t something that just happened, it was something that was made to happen by the power of God.
That power of God is still at work in this world and it is at work through us who are resurrected people. We who truly believe in the power of Easter are those who must not just wait for peace and justice to come upon the people of Ukraine and so many other places like it. We are those who are to make that peace and justice happen. The power of God happens through us who are “born of the Spirit.”
Easter is desperately needed in Ukraine and it will come. It may take longer than three days, but it will come. The stone will roll away and death will be no more. And it will come with all of the tears of sadness and joy and all of the astonishment and disbelief and exultation of that first Easter.
It will happen. It will be made to happen through the power of God working through us.
See you in church,