This Holy Week, Christians from the Western liturgical tradition remember Christ’s death on Good Friday and resurrection on Easter morning, April 4. Christians from the Eastern liturgical traditions, such as Greek and Russian Orthodox, will celebrate Easter on May 2 following the Julian calendar, as opposed to the Gregorian calendar in the West.
Easter for all Christians is many things. It is the sign of new life, the triumph of life over death and a time of great joy. There were no cell phone cameras recording Christ’s death that preceding Friday, and no social media posts announcing his emerging from the tomb in which he had been placed. Yet, we have accounts of what transpired. Roman soldiers guarded the tomb. Witnesses to the tomb on the First Easter reported it being empty and later they reported appearances of the Risen Christ in several locations, including an upper room on Easter night. The simple message was and is “Christ is risen.” He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Monday of this week was the first day of the Derek Chauvin trial at the heavily guarded Hennepin County Courthouse in downtown Minneapolis. In this case, there is a video recording of the event, which jurors will see along with 50,000 pieces of evidence available that either the prosecution or the defense may submit for consideration. George Floyd is dead. The question before the court is “How did he die?” The question before the public is “Why did he have to die?”
We know that the world is watching, and many are praying that justice is served. George Floyd’s death has created a reckoning on the subject of racism in our country. Some say, long overdue. From this one man’s death, may a new commitment to liberty, justice and equality arise.
As we gather to celebrate the resurrection, let us celebrate life. My prayer for the St. Thomas community is that Easter will bring the dawning of a new day, a new season. May it be a season of the triumph of joy over sorrow and life over death. Christ is risen. Alleluia!