God created the universe in the course of six days, and then rested on the seventh. One week past.
The nightingale’s song was heard in the evening shadows. The fish splashed off the shore of Eden. The crickets hummed in the dusk. The magnolia blossoms scented the air afresh, and the lightning bugs blinked back at Adam and his wife, a couple reveling not merely in the joy of being newly wed, but in the ecstasy of being newly made.
And it was good. And it was very good.
But the pleasures that sprang from that one week past were not to remain, for in the evening hours a serpent slid into the forests of the world and conspired against the creation’s melody.
And the couple ate the sin-ripened fruit. And the serpent smirked at the shadows that fell in the cool of the day. And God walked alone through the well trod garden paths. And he called out searching, a cry of knowing pain as he gazed upon the guilty and began even then to feel in advance the sting of a thorn bush upon his royal head.
It was not good.
And all our weeks since have been blurred by the tears flowing from Eden’s lost river. And we have not known a week without heartache.
Instead we have known bombings. We have known murder. We have known terror. We have known tragedy. We have known death. The world that once sounded only with the quiet praise of songbirds is now pierced by the sound of gunfire in residential neighborhoods. The nights where God’s light was warmed by the smiling creation of fireflies is now lit by the raging whirls of rushing sirens.
Now this evening has only been one week more. One week past. One week in which the curse of the serpent’s hiss was heard as every hour sounded. The succession of seven days is a struggle to survive.
There was evening and there was morning…
And we find ourselves burdened like the Teacher in Ecclesiastes. All the world is vain to our vision. The pain is numbing. And so, unfeeling we turn in to our pillows with the knowledge that another fallen Monday is waiting with the dawn.
And yet the gospel says something new. The word of the gospel is as startling, and unexpected, and darkness shattering as those first words that first hurled galaxies screaming past the speed of light. And this word, this good news word, is what begins our week on Sunday and sings us to the peaceful rest of Sabbath all through the workweek hence.
The gospel tells us that what defines time, what defines life, what defines hope, what defines eternity past and future is not what we think. Our weeks in Christ are not defined by the bloody images of a modern Boston Massacre. They are not defined by the unspeakable sight of a Texas town with a miniature mushroom cloud hanging over its landscape. Instead all of history is defined by a God-Man hanging over the landscape of Jerusalem, and the blood of the creator who was murdered by a mob of terrorists so that the creation could sing again.
The disciples on that first Easter weekend experienced a week like our week has been, only worse. Their world was shattered. What had seemed so promising before, lay in ruins just one week later.
But a new week had started in the early morning hours. And as they gathered upstairs on that Sunday evening their own formless voids, deep darkened caverns of nothingness, were pierced by the whisper of Eden’s king.
This last week has been hard – personally and nationally. Yet here we gather again on a Sunday evening, looking at the coming space on our calendar. And we are reminded of the deepest truth. During our Sunday morning worship service a man was baptized, a young woman believed the gospel and her life was changed, a young man obeyed God’s call on his life for ministry. And the Spirit of God still hovers, speaks, works, and invades our lives.
The weeks of tragedy do not get to set the agenda for our futures. The King has risen. The stone casket cellar that held him is now unoccupied. Jesus lives. Jesus reigns. Jesus saves. Jesus rules…in this week and in all the weeks to come. Our sobbing does not get the last word. Our Savior does.
It is good. Yes, it is very good indeed.