We missed March Madness, our educational one for seniors but also the one many wait for each year. March Madness college basketball. Even those who may not regularly watch sports get drawn in. Not this year, however. I am not a huge watcher of sports on TV and I know that many lament that in this Covid-19 era they are missing out, the season has been canceled. What I am not missing is hearing individuals who after the game love to analyze every decision the coach made and comment on how it was the wrong one. I am just not one for Monday Morning quarterbacks!
As Palm Sunday and Holy Week approaches I was struck by a quote by theologian Helmut Thielicke where he wrote: “It is impossible to learn war in a theater.” How true, no matter how many war movies you may watch you are not a soldier and no matter how many March Madness seasons you watch and get excited about, it doesn’t make you a basketball player either.
In the war that humanity faces against sin and death, God was not content to be an armchair observer. Through Jesus, God became incarnate, lived among God’s people and then was willing to take all our sin upon himself and to suffer and die a torturous death on a cross. That death was to forgive our sins and also to show us that on the other side of death there was the reality of eternal life. On Easter Sunday, Covid-19 or not, we will observe the Resurrection of our Lord. Jesus died and rose again. It is the event at the center of our faith.
In the meantime, hope we will take some time in the upcoming week to reflect on the events of a week the church calls Holy. On Sunday, April 5th we will hear the story of our Lord’s Passion and death read and Palms will be blessed. We will even have them available outside of church so that when you are perhaps out for essential errands you may stop and pick up some palms. (There will be hand sanitizer available for your use and you will be asked to maintain physical distance should you encounter anyone else.)