Two charcoal fires

Are you ready for Easter? For some that means filling baskets with candy and chocolate bunnies. My favourite...

Pastoral column

Pastoral column

By Erwin Buchholz

Battle Lake Community Baptist Church

 

Are you ready for Easter? For some that means filling baskets with candy and chocolate bunnies. My favourite was the solid white rabbit that melted delectably in my mouth. Second place went to the Cadbury eggs which disintegrated under the tongue. But that’s not what I mean by “ready for Easter.”

“Ready” means engaged, heart, mind and soul. The days of Lent fly by ever so quickly. Before we know it we are raising the festal shout at the Easter service. One time years ago when the kids were small I was so busy and distracted, when the minister announced, “He is risen!” the first thought that crossed my mind was, “I hadn’t heard that he died.” That’s how unprepared I was. I vowed then and there never to be taken off guard again.

That was the year I discovered the meaning of the symbols of Easter. The palm branches on Palm Sunday speak of Jesus’ royal status when he rode into Jerusalem. The towel and basin used at the Maundy Thursday foot-washing remind us that he came as a servant whose example we are to follow. The bread and wine tell us about the new covenant in his blood shed for the life of the world. The cross on Good Friday signifies his total self-giving, the crown of thorns his passion, the nails of our sins canceled out on the cross, and the purple cloth of the godly sorrow that leads to new life for those who seek Him. These all point to the great mystery of the “sorrow and love” which flowed mingled down in the memorable Good Friday hymn.

At our Sunrise Service this year, we will be introducing one more symbol: a charcoal fire. In John’s gospel were two fires on either side of Good Friday and Easter. These fires represent the “before” and “after” of Easter.

The first fire was in the courtyard of the high priest when Jesus was tried on false charges. Peter was close by, warming his hands at a fire. He had vowed a few days earlier that he would follow Jesus even to death, but he lost his nerve when challenged by a servant girl. When the rooster crowed, Peter remembered the prophecy: “You will deny me three times.” He went out and wept bitterly, thinking that he had lost everything.

But another charcoal fire after the resurrection changed that forever. On the shore of Galilee, Jesus was cooking breakfast and invited the eleven to join him. There, in a marvelous act of grace and forgiveness, Peter was reconciled to Jesus.

These two charcoal fires tell us the meaning of the resurrection. On the one side of Easter is our stubborn pride and self-deception. Like Peter, we make bold promises we never can keep. On the other side of Easter is the generosity of God whose love breaks down our self-will and brings us into a living relationship with God through Jesus Christ. What marvelous grace! What hope for all who meet him there!

The Pipestone Flyer has invited pastors and reverends from local churches to write a regular column for the paper.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, which causes COVID-19, emerge from the surface of cells isolated from a patient in the U.S. and cultured in a lab in a 2020 electron microscope image. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-HO, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories
Alberta adds 463 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

The central zone has 818 active cases

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta identifies 573 new COVID-19 cases, 13 deaths on Saturday

There are currently 9,727 active cases of the virus in the province

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Three new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, Alberta under 10,000 active cases

The Central zone sits at 849 active cases, with 52 people in hospital and 10 in the ICU.

Black Press File Photo
Maskwacis RCMP lay charges for attempted murder, kidnapping, and flight from police

Female victim remains in hospital in serious condition.

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Blackfalds RCMP investigate fatal collision

Preliminary investigation revealed a south bound pickup truck collided with an eastbound car

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
‘Gut punch’: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney blasts Biden on revoked Keystone XL permit

Kenney said he was upset the U.S. wouldn’t consult with Canada first before acting

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Most Read