Here at Sojourn, we have decided to set aside a number of days this year to fast as a church family. We typically do it on the first Wednesday of the month (ex. May 1, June 5) but this month we are encouraging you to fast on Holy Saturday (April 20, this Saturday). You could start your fast with the Good Friday service (6 PM) and end at 6 PM Saturday night or you could fast all day Saturday. Regardless of what your window of time is, we want to invite you to feel the weight of a Christ in the grave. As you do, consider meditating on Matthew 27:32-60 and these paragraphs from a Lenten reading:
Jesus....doesn't avoid suffering and death, he certainly doesn't promise you
anything different. 'In the world, you shall have tribulation', he says, on his way
to a cross, 'but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.' (John 16:33)
We witness Jesus march into the very yawning maw of death (telling us not be
afraid!). And by the will of the Father and the power of the Spirit, he is
resurrected, and appears on the other side of death. He beckons us, be not
afraid, follow me through death to life. Death now is not extinguishment...
it is but a membrane, the other side of which is eternal life.
Christianity doesn't ignore death; it doesn't soft-pedal its reality. It doesn’t offer
techniques to avoid it. Instead, the Christian faith looks at death level and clear
eyed, and boldly out-narrates it. The Christian proclamation reduces to hope,
and it is here that this hope is most audacious. No naivety, no delusion, no
escapism, but rather, a revitalization, a making of the ultimate and absolute end
a mere penultimate step in a broader, and better, story. The God who is,
out-narrates nonbeing. Death as the emptying of our existence, the stripping of
our meaning, is itself emptied and stripped of its meaning. Negation is negated.
The sting of death is neutralized. Its reality remains, but it is now a toothless lion.
Fear is thus removed.
-- Dr. Ryan Patrick Murphy
As you fast and pray, let God stir in you the anticipation of Easter morning when we rightly celebrate that Jesus has risen! And because that is true, we say with the Apostle Paul "Oh death, where is you victory? O death, where is your sting?" (I Cor. 15:55)
We will mourn together on Good Friday as we see the price of our sin. But we do not mourn as people who have no hope. Why? Because we know that Sunday is coming!