When I was a youngster, we had a high-tech Lenten series—at least it was high tech for its time. The pastor showed the same filmstrip each week, which included pictures of those most vulnerable and suffering in the world.
During the filmstrip, we would sing the same hymn every week. It was #354 in The Lutheran Hymnal, “In the Cross of Christ I Glory” (it appears in the Evangelical Lutheran Worship as #324). The stanza which I have been singing over and over again these crisis-filled days is part of the second verse:
When the woes of life o’ertake me,
Hopes deceive and fears annoy,
Never shall the cross forsake me;
Lo, it glows with peace and joy.
I think it’s safe to say that these crisis-filled weeks have been the “Lentiest” Lent and the most sober Holy Week and Easter of my lifetime. Yet it has been a comfort to remember that in the cross of Jesus Christ, we don’t need to pretend things are rosy or that somehow faith insulates us from the woes of the world.
Jesus invites us to bring all our woes and fears to the foot of the cross; and then, as he did on the first Resurrection morning, bears our sorrows, stands with us in the mess, and ultimately transforms the graveyard of woes and fears to peace and joy.
May the promise of the Gospel of Jesus Christ grant you comfort in these unprecedented times, as we shout together, especially in the midst of trial, Christ is risen! Alleluia!
Grace and peace,
Robin J. Steinke, President