Holy Week culminates in a trifecta of days that encompass the spectrum of human experience.
On Good Friday, we remember the death and anguish of Jesus the Messiah, come to rescue us from sin and sentenced to death by humanity. What does this tell us about ourselves? When God brings his presence with us, we reject what he has to offer. Rather than accepting the benevolence, the kindness, the awful grace, we choose violence and scapegoating and selfish pride instead.
On Holy Saturday, we are offered a chance to reflect. With despair behind us and joy ahead of us, we are left with a messy middle. Can joy be found here? Sometimes. Can grief be found here? Yes. It is ours to decide what to do with it. We are given a life in which we must make decisions without the certainty a good outcome. We are invited, simply put, to trust.
On Easter Sunday, our sobriety gives way to joy. Utter relief. Contentedness with the world as it ought to be. We are asked now to participate. Jesus, on this day, is mistaken as the gardener in John’s Gospel. Why would he use this kind of literary device? If you’re immersed in the Jewish Scriptures, you already know. When was the last time we encountered a garden? It’s right there, on pages 1-2 of your Bible. God hovered over the chaos, and made a garden for us to dwell in. After the fallout of the human decision to choose right and wrong for ourselves, the garden lost its innocence, its essence was depleted of its purpose. But on Easter Sunday, this mysterious rabbi from Nazareth somehow defeats death, and becomes humanity’s new gardener. He makes space again for us to see where it is that heaven and earth touch.
So what’s our vocation now? To go out and cultivate gardens, bearing God’s image (ruling as God would have us rule) in a world that so desperately needs restoration.