Spring is my favorite season on campus! The dead trees lining the Prayer Tower bloom into an array of beautiful pastel pinks and whites. Out of the dreary skies emerge the glorious sunlight. Winter jackets are put to the back of the closet as floral print skirts re-appear. Students awake from hibernation and soak up the beauty around campus. Spring has come, and I couldn’t be more excited!
There is a beauty in the newness on campus. The visible springtime changes are a breath of fresh air, and they elicit in us our desire to feel an internal newness.
This is my third spring in Tulsa, and consequently, my third Easter Sunday away from my family. Before arriving at ORU, my family celebrated Easter in many ways – participating in the passion play, decorating Easter eggs and succumbing to the sugar-induced nap. As I grew older, the tradition evolved into dressing in our Sunday best for a church service then enjoying a beautiful brunch buffet.
Now as a residential student, Easter Sunday looks more like any other Sunday – attending church with other stranded students on campus and hitting up the cafeteria’s brunch. There’s always an awareness of the day, but never a real Resurrection experience.
However, as this Holy Week continues to move forward, I can’t help but feel this year is different. I have become more aware of the importance of this week, and have already started to experience its beauty. It’s more tangent, more potent, more real.
Maybe that’s because this is my last spring on campus, and I’ve become a sappy senior. It might be from my work on the “Journey to the Cross” experience around campus. Or maybe it’s because I’m starting to understand the fullness of Christ’s Passion.
This year, I’ve felt the anxiety of looking ahead to future pain, the weight of enduring through tough times, the moment of breaking and the eerie stillness after a storm. And I can’t help but think of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane pleading with his father to take the cup of suffering away, his feeble bones enduring the weight of the cross yet staying on course. I see him grasping for every breath, crying “My God, My God, why have your forsaken me?” I feel the pain of his disciples in hiding wondering, what happened to the promise. Days continue to come and go yet their hearts are still broken. Does anyone notice? Does anyone care? Or is it just a forgotten memory?
You see, the anxiety in Gethsemane, the full pain of the cross, the mocking, scorning and shame have all become more real then ever. The glorious tragedy of Good Friday was real.
But the beauty of this story is that Good Friday is not the ending. And if Good Friday could be so real, then Resurrection Sunday is all the more real. Because with the rolling away of the stone, Jesus once and for all triumphed over sin, death and the grave. And his victory gives us hope that we too will triumph. There is newness in his Resurrection. Our faith hinges on this newness.
No more tears, pain, suffering. Behold I make all things new.
Why is this Holy Week so important to me? It’s because I’m starting to see how the physical world is expressing exactly what happened in eternity during this season. The dead souls bloomed with hope. Out of shameful hearts emerge the glory of our righteousness. The curse of sin and the law is placed toward the back of the closet and we start to wear the grace and hope of a better covenant. We come out of our deep sleep and start to soak up the beauty of a Savior.
So this Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday, I pray that you and your family experience the fullness of our Father’s promise: Behold, I make all things new.