Today is the highest holiday (“holy day”) of the Christian year. We have waited patiently during the 40 days of Lent, perhaps traveling through out our own wilderness experiences of giving up chocolate, sweets, meals, social media, or other sacrifices. The Lenten season is intended to remind us of Jesus’ 40-day excursion in the wilderness, the time that he fasted and confronted temptations from the enemy. While Jesus was surely weary by the end of that period from extreme hunger and spiritual warfare, he also emerged stronger than ever from his experience. Jesus was able to initiate an unconventional ministry, manage a motley crew of disciples, take on the theological critiques of the Pharisees and Sadducees, and accept the cup of betrayal and a ghastly crucifixion. The strength, especially the spiritual growth, garnered in the wilderness served him well for enduring not only to the crucifixion, but through the crucifixion, through the resurrection, and to our redemption.
Now that the anticipation of Resurrection Day has finally been satisfied, you may also identify with Jesus’ sense of weariness. If you elected to make a sacrifice during this period, you probably went through some struggles and temptations in your quest. Even if you did not undertake a fast for Lent, the last 40 days has been a difficult time to be alive in the US. Unprecedented disruptions in the political landscape, the ongoing snuffing out of black lives with no recourse to be found in the criminal injustice system, and chaotic weather patterns have made this Lenten season a time for intense reflection, if not fear. But be encouraged: You are emerging from this period of Lent stronger than ever. Yes, as a believer, your salvation is secure, and celebrating another Resurrection Day gives you even more confidence in the redeeming work signaled by Jesus Christ rising again. As wonderful a gift as salvation is, your journey of sanctification now continues with more depth and strength. You have the fortitude to continue fulfilling the purpose for which God has thoroughly equipped you. You possess the resilience to get back up again after the trials of life have knocked you down. You exhibit the stamina to push toward blossoming, not because you’re all that, but because you incorporate God’s grace in your commitment to your own wellness as well as those in your community.
So celebrate! Jesus has risen and the Holy Spirit continues to undergird your blossoming!
À Votre Santé (“To Your Health”),
Tonya D. Armstrong, Ph.D., M.T.S.