We are half way through our Lenten journey. Each passing week brings us closer to one of the darkest weeks in the church year. We experience the joy of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, greeted by the crowd waving palm branches, and shouts of Hosanna. By the end of the week Jesus will have shared his last meal with his disciples. He will be betrayed by one of his own followers and denied by another. He will be arrested and tried, sentenced to death and crucified by the authorities. He will be placed in an unmarked tomb, and the scriptures tell us that the sun did not shine. There was more than a physical darkness; there was an emotional darkness as well. We so want to go from the joy of Palm Sunday to the joy of Easter, bypassing the darkness of the rest of the week. To do so, however, diminishes the power and glory of the resurrection.
We are people who continue to live in darkness. We are still feeling the darkness and pain of another mass shooting. While the Olympics have been a welcome diversion, there are still tensions in the world, Syria, Korea, and Iran. In our own lives we have experienced darkness as well, illness, death, the loss of a job. The lesson of Holy Week is that the darkness does not last; the tomb is empty. The darkness that we all face can be faced with the assurance of the joy of Easter.