I've always loved books. My sixth grade teacher often sent me down to the library on my own while she dealt with more reluctant readers. Or maybe she just needed me out of her hair.
A year later, in a new school system, I went from being someone who reads to being someone who loves literature, after a “hip” teacher introduced my to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. It would eventually become half of my double major as an undergraduate, with a focus on Medieval to Renaissance British Literature.
In truth, what I love is a good story. The words of Cormac McCarthy immerse you in a story, courage and threat and moral complexity, but so do great films and staged performances. The role-playing games I enjoy on my Xbox are not first-person shooters such as you might find in an arcade. They are deeply immersive stories, with fully developed plots and characters.
Heck, I even love the State Opening of Parliament in the United Kingdom, not because I care an iota about the King's Speech, but because the rituals of the day tell the deep story of the struggle between rule by the elite and rule by the commons, “Black Rod” beating on the door of the lower house, Yeomen searching the cellars for barrels of gunpowder.
As we head toward Easter, we once again prepare to live into the story of the dramatic events in Jerusalem during the Passover of what we now call 30 C.E. We'll reconsider what it means when an un-credentialed rabbi from Galilee enters a city on edge, the center of religious power in the culture, surrounded by a crowd of disciples or scary mob, all depending on where you sat. We'll recall once again the final meal he had with his inner circle, and his arrest later that night. We'll tell, once again, the unjust trial before the Roman prefect and the subsequent torture and public execution, the Roman way of intimidating would-be challengers. Finally, we will celebrate victory over the grave, the fact that his followers experienced him as very much still with them, even after the had seen him killed.
We know the story, so it may be tempting to skip chapters, to fast forward from Palm Sunday to Easter morning. But like most stories, every chapter matters. I hope you will join us as we tell the story of the Last Supper at our Thursday Night Agape Meal, as we feel the growing darkness of Good Friday as the candles are snuffed throughout the story of that day. And of course, we hope you will celebrate with us on Sunday morning as we proclaim once again that “The Lord Is Risen Indeed!”