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John Bressler - Sunday is Easter and I cannot help but sing

John Bressler - Sunday is Easter and I cannot help but sing

John Bressler - Sunday is Easter and I cannot help but sing

John Bressler


    This past Thursday, our choir sang the beautifully haunting "Song of the Shadows" by Joseph M. Martin during the Tenebrae service. It is a way to remember the suffering of Jesus. Words and music hardly seem appropriate, and yet there is something about our trying to understand this sacrifice of our Lord that must be expressed with our entire being. When we sing, listen to the music and observe the darkness that surrounds this moment in time, it is as though we are weeping uncontrollably, tearing our clothing as a symbol of anguish and feeling our heart breaking because we are helpless onlookers who have accepted the inevitable.
    This moment in time causes us to ask such inappropriate questions, "Why, God, did You choose this way? Surely, couldn't You have just declared in a voice that shook the foundations of the world, 'You are forgiven!'? "
    Here was an innocent man of incredible courage with an impossible mission to a world held captive by the inescapable and obvious conclusion, life is nothing more than a time to live and a time to die. If there were answers, they were hidden by the powerful or controlled by the mystery religions who sold hope to the rich or slaughtered animals to please the gods.
    This Jesus of Nazareth must be a kind but harmless lunatic who speaks of love as a gift, forgiveness without cost, future without sacrifice. "How can this be?" Many listen, some believe, most walk away shaking their heads. "He is not a king. He has no wealth. He is common. He lacks credentials. He is interesting, nothing more."
    Something is stirring and I cannot explain it. I find myself in old Jerusalem eating with friends and I overhear loud voices in the street. It seems the Nazarene was arrested for crimes against the Empire and will be put to death tomorrow. Well, it was inevitable from what I have been told. One less troublemaker for our city and life goes on as usual.
    After the Sabbath, I began the long walk home as I need to rest and get up early to work my fields tomorrow. Something happened on the road and I just can't explain it. Just outside of Emmaus, I overheard some men talking, "Did not our hearts burn within us? Here we were, lucky to not have been arrested and he shows up and talks to us as though nothing had happened to him. We're going back to Jerusalem! Can you believe it?"
    I have two choices here: I can shrug my shoulders and go home as I have planned or I can turn around and follow these strangers just to find out what they mean and why they are so excited. Is it that important or am I just following a dream?
    Sunday is Easter and we have waited all year for this one moment in time that reassures us, "This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!"
    My choice has been made. I understand, in my humanness, what God has done, is doing and will continue to do for today, tomorrow and for all eternity.
    I cannot help but sing!

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