Okay, you’re right. I’ve never before written a letter to you my faithful readers here on my blog, but I wanted this post to be a bit more personal. So here goes.
We live during such a fast-paced and unusually dramatic and demanding period that the day we take to stop in grateful memory of the most significant event in history can by now seem like an event in the distant past. Old news. No longer on our minds. Even though it was only a few weeks ago. We’ve moved on. Today’s events are the thing.
But is the greatest event in history, what we call Easter, behind the times? Behind your times? I ask you.
Thanks to one of the more constructive benefits of the Internet, I listened online to two Sunday morning messages by Pastor Mike Osminiski in the quiet of my study on the afternoon each one was preached, Palm Sunday and Easter. Each teaching was an hour long and I found myself taking a lot of notes, but it was not time spent but time deeply blessed. I was so totally blessed receiving fresh and relevant insight and understanding about the last week of our Lord’s life and the resurrection that I’m linking both messages here on my blog for you.
Opening up Psalm 118 and Psalm 22 in the context of Mark 11, Pastor Mike took me into the story of Jesus as Jesus personally entered the story of God for the closing days of his life on earth, moving from the triumphal entry into Jerusalem to the Passover meal and then through the betrayal to Jesus’ trial, death, and resurrection. Although this was theologically solid stuff, it wasn’t abstract theological teaching. It was rich immersion into Scripture corresponding to what Jesus faced then and there, during a week that at times even for him seemed unimaginable.
We are often told that Jesus fulfilled the Scripture. And that is true. Yet Jesus’ life was also embedded in the Scripture. The two Sunday messages brought out to me that Jesus had a very real personal understanding of having entered the narratives of Psalm 118 and Psalm 22. Jesus saw in them timely words from Father to Son (from hundreds of years earlier!) that gave him courage to face the way ahead, to keep going, so that his own mind, will, and emotions did not dominate his decisions that terrible week, when unthinkable grief and suffering were to be placed on his shoulders (that he might fulfill the Scripture). Also, and importantly, the two Psalms gave Jesus vision and hope of the joy he will experience after his resurrection from the dead.
And there was this too. Both messages gave me fresh insight that helped me understand more clearly as to why seeking the Lord to locate ourselves in scriptural narratives, particularly during dramatic and demanding days such as ours, is a vital part of following Jesus.
Mike did not use the word “Easter” to talk about this. He talked about Resurrection Day.
Resurrection life, not bunny rabbits, is what we ought to be gratefully remembering on the day everyone calls Easter. That indestructible life is God’s gift to us. It’s not passe. It’s for our life today. Hey, here’s a thought. Perhaps we should start a movement to replace the name “Easter” with “Resurrection Day”?
As we understand more about Jesus’ life that week, its unprecedented personal challenges, and where he took inspiration from, perhaps we may be able to see and be inspired to keep going by seeing at times where to enter the story for God in Scripture for our own lives, humbly and obediently, to receive more of that resurrection life of Jesus to get us through whatever kind of trial or suffering we face. Please don’t read that as offering a “there, there now” brother or sister, “all will be fine.” This is not that. Who knows what lays ahead for us during the ongoing, demanding, time-foreshortened moment that we still find ourselves in as followers Jesus. We live in seriously shifting times. Let us not take the world-historical event of Resurrection Day as a thing of the past.
I ask you, what other than the everlasting power of the life that defeated death will do for you today?
I don’t know how Pastor Mike’s teachings will personally bless you. But this I pray. If you’re longing for a fuller lifting of the veil in order to better see Jesus today, and to receive insight into the power and authority of Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection as essential graces for your faith and life today, in whatever you face, or that faces you, no matter how demanding, I pray that you will find all of that and more in these two messages.
‘Nuff said. It’s over to you now. Here’s the two links. Oh, I should add that Mike opens the start of each Sunday service, but you may then want to scroll ahead to where he starts each message, as preceding each one is a 20+ minute word on Communion from someone else – not to say those are not worth your time! Also, you’ll see two different ways to listen. I suggest listening by clicking the little white arrow at the bottom of the church scene, rather than the one below it, which is audio only.
Pastor Mike starts the Palm Sunday message around the 20min, 30sec mark:
He starts the Resurrection Day message around the 38.00 min mark:
If you have any difficulty accessing a talk, let me know.
Yours truly, in His life,
©2022 by Charles Strohmer
Image courtesy of Creative Commons, Samantha Simmons