Holy Week and it's Universal Applications
It’s a cool, rainy Good Friday in South Georgia, a good day to take a personal day, listen to J. S. Bach’s The Passion According to St. Matthew and reflect. When you think about it, the allegorical application of this season to our lives is rather remarkable.
Few are unfamiliar with the themes presented during the Christian celebration of Holy Week: acceptance, rejection, persecution, death and triumph. There’s the tumultuous acclamation of the Christ’s arrival in Jerusalem as he is accepted by the populace as a temporal savior. A conspiracy among the spiritual leadership turns this same populace against him resulting in an unimaginable persecution as he is scourged within an inch of his life. That life is eventually, and painfully, lost as the Christ endures the cruelest form of death the Roman Empire can offer: crucifixion. And so he dies, and dies with earthquakes, lightning and the rending of the Temple veil.
Most great stories in all known civilizations’ literature, East or West, would end there. This one doesn’t. Prior to his death, the Christ knew he would be raised again, he held the promise of another life in his heart until the end. And there is, indeed, a resurrection, a final triumph of the Christ for the purpose of the universal reconciliation of man to God, a universal salvation. This story still lives unchanged for over 2,000 years.
While that in and of itself is quite something to reflect on, think of the thematic application to the everyday, secular life or lifetime.
Christians and non-Christians experience successes, trials and failures in life. There’s no “Christian way” or “non-Christian way” to lose a business, career, marriage, or family. There’s no “Christian way” or “non-Christian way” to contract cancer, suffer a debilitating injury, or endure other infirmities. These things happen to all people. After all, tides come, tides go.
What the story of Holy Week gives us is hope. It gives us, through the triumph of the Christ over the very real and very final verdict, death, a hope that the end is not necessarily the end.
Adversities hit us from all sides all through our lives in varying degrees, contexts and complexities. At some point nearly every Christian and non-Christian will be knocked to their knees. But that failure, that set back, that “coming up short” whether self inflicted or resulting from circumstances, is not the end.
Enjoy and grow success while it’s there. Believe in yourself, your future, and something other than yourself. You’ll need to pull from within when the sky falls, and it will. And when it does, handle it with humility, fight the urge to place blame, carry your cross, if you will, on your own shoulders and forgive even if you don't want to. It may need to play out, and if it does, learn from it and then let it go.
Above all, hold on to that faith you have in yourself (I suggest a faith in something bigger as well) and your future. That faith will get you through and it will get you through without bitterness. The latter is critical. Retained bitterness will eat you up from within.
It’s how adversity is handled that defines the person, Christian and non-Christian alike. Answer set backs with courage, faith and vision. Don’t give hopelessness and despair a seat at the table.
Then you’ll have your own remarkable story.
©2014 Gary M. Wisenbaker
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