Viewing Easter through the Lens of Christian Worldview
Holy Week is generally considered as the series of celebrative and contemplative services from Palm Sunday through the Saturday before Easter Sunday. It begins with a celebration of the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday). It then moves into the week with Maundy Thursday (or Holy Thursday) which is a memorial for the Last Supper and the time in the garden. This is followed by Good Friday that commemorates the death and burial of Christ. Holy Saturday is that day of silence and contemplation, to consider the work of Jesus in dying to conquer sin and death.
All of this is very dramatic, and it covers the range of emotions from great elation to great sorrow. It can cause us to shout for joy and cry out in pain. It really can be a journey into the depths of what Christ really came to do on earth. God become flesh, dwelling among us.
Ultimately, we burst forth into the joy of Easter Sunday, when we recognize Christ’s ultimate victory. We also realize that, as believers, He has become our Victor and snatched us from sure doom. Redemption has come in Christ, and we celebrate!
If you take only a few minutes and consider the highs and lows that are part of that week, and even read through the accounts in the gospels and follow the emotional responses of the Apostles and disciples, it won’t take long to see how much drama is found in these events. Yet, many independent evangelical churches skip over Holy Week and celebrate Easter as though nothing special preceded it. All of the sudden we are celebrating…but why?
Easter is truly the high point of the Great Drama of Scripture. But we leave much on the table when we overlook the importance of the events of Holy Week. I realize there is something of a resurgence of some aspects of Holy Week in some circles, and as people discover how insightful these various services can be it is an enriching part of the season. For those that miss these events, they are shortchanging themselves on a truly reflective view of these last few days of the life of Jesus.
There are many resources on the internet to explain each aspect of Holy Week. This would include viewpoints from different traditions. If you are a worship planner, or pastor, I would suggest doing some research on Holy Week – since it’s not too late to plan even a limited series of services to enhance the culminating celebration of Easter.
And before we close, let’s consider the worldview implications of this yearly celebration of Christ’s resurrection. Easter is at the heart of what the Christian Faith is all about, and we can keep the importance of Christ’s resurrection in perspective when we are careful to remember that the fullness of the Gospel can be told in the three categories that explain the Christian Worldview: Creation, Fall and Redemption.
The Great Drama begins at Creation as God unfolds His creative work and places man in the highest place—as stewards, keepers, caretakers—as representatives of God Himself in the dominion of the earth. We stand in His place as rulers of all that He made, responsible to Him for its development and use. God’s goodness exudes from His creative work, and He underscores that by declaring, “It is good. It is very good.”
Yet, as the ultimate drama, conflict and sin enter the story when Adam rebels against God in disbelief and pride. The Fall of Adam tears into the deepest depths and throws God’s good Creation into disarray. Man’s relationship with God is severed, his relationship with himself and others is broken, and his stewardship in Creation is marked by difficulty and toil. God stands now in judgment against the humanity He created. The damage must be undone, His Creation must be restored.
And so, as the Great Drama unfolds, we understand God’s ongoing efforts at restoration. Even as He holds man responsible for his sin, God works to redeem him. Ultimately, this redemption arrives in the person of Jesus Christ—God become Man. In Christ, the power of divinity is matched with the responsibility of humanity to repair the damage of sin. It is only His uniqueness as the God-Man that redemption can come.
And Redemption has come! It is in Easter that we celebrate the demonstration of God’s love for us and for His Creation. Christ’s redeeming sacrifice on the cross, His conquering of sin, death and the devil, and His resurrection are the beginnings of the restoration God has in store for us as His children, and through us into the lives of others and His entire Creation.
Let us truly celebrate the fullness of the Gospel during this season of the year!
(Previously posted on WorshipThink.com on 4/14/14)
Posted on March 23, 2015, in Christian Worldview, Content of Worship, Corporate Worship, theology, Worship Leader and tagged creation, fall, Mark Sooy, redemption, theology, worldview, worship, worship leader, WorshipThink. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.