We come to this very special holy weekend. Christians are gathering around the empty tomb and great celebration of Easter Sunday and Jews are gathering around a Seder Table and celebrating God's power to hear our cries and free people from oppression. While our theologies are different, these holy times really speak of the same truths. God has heard people crying out for help in the midst of hopelessness and pain. The message of both Passover and Easter is that God clearly hears our pain and suffering and reaches down with loving hands to help us find a better life.
Both of these holy times point not just back into the past but call our attention to the present and future. For God's miracle of freeing the Hebrews from slavery and overcoming a great power on earth as well as God's miracle of resurrection that has promised for so many a life eternal beyond the pains and disappointments of this world, tell us that there is great power in our faith. We hear God's promises that with God's power, anything and everything is indeed possible. There is nothing that can separate us from God's love and stop us from doing what is right to make our world a better place.
We need that reminder and promise because oppression and suffering has not stopped. There still is much to be done in God's name. As required by any Seder, there comes a time in that worship when we are reminded that slavery is not over. There are many enslaved even today. Slavery exists not only in the traditional sense, but also in the form of sex slaves, oppression of children, economic slavery, people not allowed to make their own choices for basic life decisions, and in so many other ways.
Easter's message is that God loves us so much that God was willing to give the ultimate sacrifice as Jesus hung on the cross. In the midst of what looked like total defeat, there was great victory. We live in a world where often we think we have lost the battle. We see so much that is not right. We wonder if anyone holds what is true and good as an ultimate goal. The Easter message reminds us that we have not lost, that with God's Spirit, we indeed will win. Yet to do so requires much sacrifice.
So the choice comes down to this for both our great faiths: we know what God wants from us, but are we willing to do what is required? It is never easy. It is a path fraught with pain and even temporary failures. Yet the reward is so great - not just for us, but for all of God's children. I ask you to join with me on this most Holy weekend to commit yourself once again to do God's will and together making this world a better place for all people.
- Weiss is the pastor at First Church of Christ (Disciples) in Williamsport.