About 20 years ago, I was privileged to play harpsichord for a presentation of the Easter portion of Handel’s Messiah at Hales Corners Lutheran Church under the direction of Hib Wiedenkeller. In oratorios of the Baroque Era, the harpsichord’s primary function was to provide a steady rhythm that held all the other instruments together. Playing took great concentration, especially because the harpsichord part was improvised from the organ/piano score. Nevertheless, being in the midst of such glorious vocal and instrumental sound made for an ecstatic Easter experience unparalleled before or since.
Easter Sunday worship should be a mountaintop experience, the ultimate expression of our faith and joy in the Lord. Often, however, one major repercussion of our ministry downsizing or position loss is arresting our faith, thoughts, and emotions at Good Friday. Like the disciples, we are paralyzed by fear, facing an unsettling period of transition and a bleak, uncertain future. As Timothy Keller points out in King’s Cross, our suffering may seem as senseless to us as Jesus’ suffering seemed to His disciples. While we may not know what the reason is for our suffering, Pastor Keller asserts that the cross tells us what the reason isn’t:
“It can’t be that God doesn’t love you; it can’t be that he has no plan for you. It can’t be that he has abandoned you. . . . The cross proves that he loves you and understands what is means to suffer. It also demonstrates that God can be working in your life even when it seems like there is no rhyme or reason for what is happening.”
Volatile circumstances do not and cannot nullify God’s worthiness and faithfulness. Jesus’ death and resurrection are reason enough to praise Him in all circumstances. May we proclaim with the Apostle John:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.”- Revelation 5:12