Dear Disciples of Jesus throughout the North American Lutheran Church:
Throughout this Season of Lent I have prayed for our Deans and the congregations of each of our Mission Districts. I am well aware of the many struggles and difficulties some have faced, but I am equally aware of the many joys and celebrations as well as the transformed lives as individuals have come to faith in Jesus Christ or continued to grow and mature in Christ. All those following Jesus and leading others realize that both the joys and sorrows are so interrelated that it is impossible to separate them. Life in Christ includes a constant flow of both. I share these reflections on the Easter Gospel as a way to encourage you during this Easter Triduum.
The Great Exchange
I realize this sounds like a strange way to begin an Easter Message, but have you ever thought of what it would be like to be on “death row” on the last day of your life, waiting for the guards to lead you to the gallows, the electric chair or the room to receive a lethal injection? What would the emotional trauma be like waiting for someone to end your existence, your influence, your identity?
Have you ever known anyone on death row? In preparation for Holy Week and Easter, I have been preoccupied with the Passion narrative and the man on death row, awaiting execution, “Barabbas.” The Gospel writers tell us that Barabbas was a robber, a murderer, a revolutionary, an insurrectionist.
Perhaps he was a part of the Zealots trying to rid Jerusalem of the Roman occupation.
Barabbas was a notorious prisoner and we certainly share nothing in common with him, right? [READ MORE…]