By the Rev. David Olson
I couldn’t help but laugh along when I saw the tears of joy rolling down her cheeks. She was laughing so hard. We were at a retreat weekend for students at Elon University and were playing a game called, “Who Would Win?” In the game two people draw a character card and then an event card. They then try and make their point about why their character and not the other would win whatever event was listed, with the rest of the players acting as the judges. We were all laughing because we had just heard a funny reason why Darth Vader would beat Albert Einstein in a gardening contest. The laughter felt good—it always does. It was an emotional release since the students had just finished their mid-term exams the day before. As the laughter subsided and we moved on to the next characters and event cards, my thoughts drifted, and I thought about how, silly games aside, we do live in a world obsessed with winners and losers. We want to be reassured that the “good” side wins and the “bad” side doesn’t. The sentiment is understandable. In difficult times and in difficult moments we hope for a good ending. We hope and pray for a win. This past year has felt like an especially difficult time. From the Covid-19 pandemic to politics, from social justice horrors to separation from those we love and care about—we have spent what feels like endless days in fear, worry, and stress. The darkness seems to surround us, and we can’t help but wonder, who wins? In the end it will be okay… right? In the end God and all God stands for and is wins … right? It is an understandable question to ask, and comes with an answer as we begin Holy Week. Poet and songwriter Brian Wren writes beautifully, “Darkness is the cradle of the dawning.” And so it is. As we move through the darkness of Holy Week to the celebration of Easter we truly see and experience in worship that the darkness we have lived through is about to be put into its place. Easter reminds us, once again, that God wins. Every single time. The events of Easter are our hope and our promise. They don’t assure us that there will be no struggles in this life. But they do assure us that in the end, nothing can separate us from the love that God has for us and has shown us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We celebrate this during this most holy of weeks. Easter morning is dawning. God wins. There will be joy and there will be laughter again. And they will feel good. They always do.
Grace and Peace, David+