So How’d You Get Here?
In a few hours we’ll have our Good Friday service, and it has me thinking about the importance of the journey to Easter. Before I say more, let me share a quick story about something that happened to me.
Many years ago I had a speaking gig in Oklahoma, and Tena and I drove there from our home in Texas. On the way, in the middle of nowhere, we came upon a toll road. It was only fifty cents, but we only had a quarter. There was no attendant, just a machine that required two quarters to raise the gate. We noticed a convenience store in the distance. I walked over, entering a small, dilapidated structure and explained my situation. The clerk showed no compassion and said he couldn’t help. I returned to the car completely frustrated. If we had to find another route now, we wouldn’t make my gig. All of this hinged on getting a quarter!
We then came up with a new plan: go back to the store, charge something and have him add twenty-five cents to total, which he would then give back to us. Problem solved! Unfortunately, he refused to help because he wasn’t authorized to conduct such a transaction. While thinking very unchristian things but presenting a pastoral presence, I told him that he’d better get used to having me around because I’m standing here until someone gives me a quarter. After a long stare down, he begrudgingly reached in the cash register and gave me a quarter.
Here’s the point of the story. If someone asked, “How was your trip?” And I simply replied, “We made it,” people wouldn’t appreciate the dogged persistence it took to get there. In the same way, if we move to Easter without understanding what it took to get there, we don’t understand the supreme act of love that infuses Easter with its meaning.
Sometimes you can “cut to the chase” and focus on the end. And sometimes you need the whole story to appreciate the depth of what it represents. Easter needs the whole story—betrayal, abandonment and crucifixion—to understand the depth of God’s love revealed in Jesus Christ.