“Journey to the Empty Tomb”

The angel said to the women, “He is not here, for he has been raised!”...So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to tell his disciples. — from Matthew 28:5-8

People use “journey” language to think and talk about many things in life, such as relationships, behavior, and even life itself. The reason we do so is because we travel daily from place to place—to work, school, the store, home, etc.—and because we often hear or read about the vacations and travels of others and do the same ourselves. These common, everyday experiences of travel explain why we often think of Lent as a journey, too.

As I post this, we’re in the fourth week of that journey, one that began on Ash Wednesday (March 6). Like other churches, on that day, a cross of ashes is pressed on our foreheads. At Salem Presbyterian, the words—“Consider yourself dead to sin and alive in Christ”— are also impressed on our hearts. Since that day, we’ve tried to live those words by answering Lent’s call to repentance and renewal so that we would obey our Lord and not sin, so that we would recommit ourselves to living our new life in him through the Spirit.

To help us do that at Salem Presbyterian, in worship at 11:00 AM this Lent we’ve been plumbing the lives of people with Christ at the cross—such as Mary Magdalen and the centurion—to learn the lessons they teach us. I pray that you’re also strengthening your relationship with the Lord through a Lent devotional guide or a resource such as “Pray As You Go.” The latter is one of my favorites; it’s available online and based on the spiritual practices of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

This forty-day journey will soon lead us to Holy Week, beginning with shouts of“Hosanna!” on Palm Sunday and ending with shouts of “Crucify him!” on Good Friday. At Salem Presbyterian, each of our Holy Week services (see our most recent worship bulletin posted on this website) is an opportunity to experience anew the life-transforming and world-changing power, meaning, and significance of God’s never-ending love for us expressed in the suffering, death, and resurrection of his Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Let’s continue this one-of-a-kind journey to the Empty Tomb together.