You Are There

I loved history in high school. One of my favorite TV shows was “You Are There.” It was anchored by the famous newscaster, Walter Cronkite, who recreated a momentous day in history. He ended each program with “What kind of day was it? A day like all days filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times, except you were there.”

Those words echo as I think about Good Friday and the Day of Resurrection. Those were truly days that altered and illuminated our times. Good Friday was originally called God’s Friday and became corrupted into Good Friday. Either term illuminates that day; it is God’s Friday with God in charge of the outcome. It is also a Good Friday, not because of torture and death, but because of God’s mighty act of redemption. When humans did their worst, God offered his best.

Our Lenten midweek services centered on the theme of the Ten Commandments, giving us opportunity to learn about our need for the law, but also why we need to see the law through the lens of the Cross. In the cross we see the heart of God. Joseph Campbell called the cross the ultimate symbol of compassion. The writer of the hymn, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, put it this way, “See, from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down.”

The three days from Friday to Sunday indeed are days that “alter and illuminate” all time. We see God operating in the world and his intent for our lives. Therefore, I invite you to meditate and ponder the greatest days since creation by being present for our services during Holy Week.

Easter comes this year when we begin to think of spring. It is easy for us to confuse Easter with springtime, trees budding, and flowers blooming – spring is a parable for new life. However, it is not just the annual renewal of the earth we celebrate. Our Easter comes by the power of Almighty God who created us, breathed the breath of life into us, and who will recreate us as new beings in a new heaven and a new earth.

When Cronkite uttered his words, “except you are there,” they speak to our understanding of Easter – we are there – we are being resurrected daily. If a new heaven and a new earth are to be ours, we can live toward that reality today and every day. Through daily repentance the Christ rises within us giving new life. Yes, “You Are There.”

Pastor David Lose will be preaching on Easter at the Minneapolis Campus, and then it will not be long before he is here full time. Great days are ahead for Mount Olivet. You can help this transition. Be here, continue to serve, and give generously. Your Easter offerings can help give Pastor Lose the start he deserves by answering the call to be our leader. Now, more than ever, your church needs YOU.

Pastor Dennis Johnson