Don’t Skip Good Friday Lessons to Celebrate Easter | News


NAPPANEE – Don’t skip the bad parts.

That’s the advice Union Center Church of the Brethren pastor Frank Ramirez gave about the story of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection on Easter.

“Sometimes people just want to take the leap and go straight to the good news,” Ramirez said.

He references author and researcher Kate Bowler in her 2018 book ‘Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved’ as she addresses her struggles after being diagnosed with breast cancer. stage 4 colon and well-meaning comments from people such as, “Everything happens for a reason” and “God has a plan”. happy with the congregation.

“We have to deal with the fact that we die and things get awful and they seem insane and they don’t necessarily have an answer,” Ramirez explained.

In the tragedy of Good Friday also lies the hope of Easter.

“Matthew, Mark, Luke and John tell us different versions of it,” he said. “A friend of mine, the late Vernard Eller, who was a professor of religion at [the University of La Verne] in California – always said that “trying to make the four gospels work together is like taking four jigsaw puzzles and throwing them on the table thinking you’ll fit them all together”. If you try hard, you can glue some pieces together, but it doesn’t really make a picture, instead taking them as they are.

One thing, Ramirez explained, that the four gospels have in common, however, is that women are the primary proclaimers of the resurrection.

“I think in many ways we recognize that the first apostles are the women,” he continued. “The central element of the story is the women, who are there faithfully even though Jesus died. allowed to be there for the Resurrection.

In the story told by the New Testament Gospels, Joseph of Arimathea, a secret disciple of Jesus, a wealthy man and a respected member of the council, procured the body and assumed responsibility for Jesus’ burial. Due to the risks associated with interacting with even the dead who are charged with sedition in Rome, and the fact that there were only a few hours left before the Sabbath, the procedure was done in haste, aromatic spices and l Cloth wrapping being done quickly and possibly incorrectly, Ramirez explained.

“Joseph buried him and is not continuing the work because the Sabbath is to begin and Jesus dies in the middle of the afternoon, and they [the women] seen where [he was buried] and they’re going to finish the job and do it right, which is what women do,” Ramirez explained. “And the result is that they were there and it is in the middle of doing that we experience the Resurrection. They literally experience it, and we experience new life and new growth, I think, in the midst of rotten jobs.

In JRR Tolkien’s 1947 essay “On Fairy-Stories,” the renowned author and scholar coined the word “eucatastrophe” in connection with the story of Jesus, Ramirez said. The word coming from a combination of three Greek terms. The Greek word “catastrophe” is a commonly used combined word traditionally to describe a plot change caused by a dramatic event (cata) in a poem or story (stanza meaning poetic division of labor). The Greek root “eu” means “good” or “favorable”. .”

“In Greek drama, everyone knows all the stories,” he said. “They know how they end. There are no surprises. So there’s this kind of car accident where it’s like, ‘Oh no, it’s going to happen.’ You always know in John F. Kennedy’s story that he’ll come down Dealey Plaza and you can’t stop him.

In the theater, the concept is called “dramatic irony”. Ramirez linked the dramatic irony to the story of Oedipus, mythical Greek king of Thebes. A prophecy about Oedipus’ birth stated that he would kill his king father and marry his queen mother, so King Laius and Queen Jocasta of Thebes left the child for dead. Nevertheless, a shepherd finds Oedipus, by the exchange of hands, the child ends up falling into the hands of another royal family of Corinth to be brought up as theirs. Hearing the prophecy, Oedipus, unaware of his true parentage, departs and heads to another city to protect his parents – Thebes – setting off a chain of events that ultimately lead to exactly what the prophecy said would happen.

“During Holy Week, we know that no matter what, Jesus is going to die horribly and we can’t stop him,” Ramirez continued. “The difference in the story of Jesus is that it is not a ‘catastrophe’, it is a ‘eucatastrophe’. Tolkien says that with the ‘eucatastrophe’ of the story, we also know that if we can force ourselves to watch, there will be this right, unexpected twist in history.”

CS Lewis said that every ancient faith had its myth of the corn god, who died, was buried and resurrected. This is reflected in many mythologies.

“If something is true, then it becomes true for many cultures and we find that we share many of the same basic stories,” Ramirez continued. “I think many Christian writers recognize that we share the same fundamental truths expressed in different ways. . I think the ministry of Jesus and his death and resurrection changed some of the basic elements of our thinking and that has infected all cultures, whether we call it Christian or not. We take this basic story of replanting and renewal, and we always celebrate it. We have the Easter bunny, the Easter eggs – these symbols that are fundamentally pagan, we incorporate them into the central story, which is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

He went on to explain that because of this, the pagan themes incorporated into the Christian holiday do not bother him and should not bother others.

“We all come across the same story,” he said. “We all meet Jesus, and we all meet the Resurrection and yet the meaning is different for us because we are different people. That’s why if the kids are excited about the Easter egg hunt, that’s just as well It’s not “either or”, it’s “both and”. pagans” – you bet.”

“If the highlight of your Easter is having the family to have ham and scalloped potatoes and green beans with those onions on top, that’s fine,” Ramirez said. “Whatever you do, for we remember the words the apostle Paul uses in I Corinthians 11, ‘As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until ‘he comes.'”

Ramirez, instead, suggested focusing on the people in the story to identify with. There is character for everyone in the story of Jesus, from the people in the crowd who chose Barabbas to be set free in a customary pardon on Jesus to Barabbas himself, from the Roman soldiers who carried out the execution to an uncertain ruler who did not want to endanger his position of power, from Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to Peter who denied Jesus three times or the slave girl who confronted him, from other men on the crosses of each side of Jesus to Joseph of Arimathea, who buried the body because he felt it was the right thing to do.

“That’s what Easter is for me,” he said. “We announce the risen Jesus, but now we have to put ourselves in the story and it will not be the same for everyone. Sometimes we want everyone to meet Jesus the same way we do. They will have their meeting in their own way, at their own pace, and history will come alive.


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