Somewhere in the back of our minds is an unwritten script that contains a plan we have created for how the events of our lives should go. On a typical day, we probably do not even know it is there, but it often becomes quite evident when the events or circumstances happen in a way that is radically different from our script. For the original disciples of Jesus Christ, it is evident through their responses before, during and after the crucifixion that the script that their leader was following was different than the one they had envisioned.
On Friday, when Jesus was crucified, I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for those who were taught personally by Jesus Christ and witnessed the powerful testimony of his life-changing miracles face the reality that he was now abused, beaten, rejected, whipped and left on a cross, one of the most horrific instruments of execution in all of history, to die. In our lives, we sometimes face "Fridays" as well, days when things go off the script and something unexpected or even horrific occurs. Our "Friday" might be a time of disaster, loss, a failed business, a broken relationship or even the death of someone we love.
At Eagles Wings Community Fellowship, we experienced our own kind of "Friday" in June 2011 when the Souris River Flood of 2011 filled our entire building with 7 feet of water. After eight years of planting and building a church, after years of milestones and accomplishments and experiencing God's provision and blessing, it seemed that we were living in a scene that was not on our script. I remember going into our church building for the first time after the flood with flashlights and looking at the destruction for the first time. The floor was covered with a slippery mud that made it as slick as walking on ice. The rancid smell and the warzone like images are etched in my memory forever. It was "Friday."
Rev. Travis Hovde
As tragic as "Friday" is, it is followed by something that can be equally as challenging, "Saturday." The Scriptures do not give us a lot of detail about what happened on Saturday, the day between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, but I believe it had to be a confusing time for them. Our "Saturdays" are often filled with question like: "What just happened?" "Is there still hope?" "Where is God in all of this?" It can also be a time where we second guess our past decisions or are overcome with confusion.
On Sunday morning, a few of those who loved and followed Jesus went to visit his tomb, but once again things went off the script. Instead of seeing a dead body, Matthew's Gospel (Chapter 28) tells us that there was an angel there with a message that Jesus has risen, that God had taken the tragedy of the cross and turned it into ultimate triumph over death.
For all of us of faith, for those of us who believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is always the hope of a "Sunday," a day of Resurrection and renewal. At Eagles Wings, the past 20 months has been a difficult season, to say the least, but in it we have witnessed in a tangible and powerful way, the power of the Resurrection. Every day I can look around and see the hand of God working and bringing restoration, sometimes through miraculous provision or through the hands of volunteers showing Christ's love through service. I do not claim to fully understand why everything happens. I am not God, just a follower of his, but I am confident of this, there is no circumstance, tragedy or disaster that cannot be overcome by the power of the Resurrection. If you find yourself in a "Friday" be assured that you are not the only one and that it might not be easy but you can get through it. If you find yourself in a "Saturday" remember that it is only a season, keep the faith and very soon the sun will dawn on a new day. For all of us who have faith and trust God, we will never ultimately be disappointed. God has the power to resurrect, and he alone can and will bring resurrection in our lives, our families and in this community. Thank God for Sunday!
Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Religion Editor Loretta Johnson at 857-1952 or Debbie Sandvold at 857-1950. The toll-free number is 1-800-735-3229.
The Rev. Travis Hovde is pastor of Eagles Wings Community Fellowship, 1500-2nd Ave. SW, Minot.