Will Easter come? (A Good Friday reflection)

by Chandler Carriker

"The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD. May your hearts live forever!" - Psalm 22:26

Good Friday is the darkest day of the Christian year. Many of us literally turn the lights out in our sanctuaries and drape the altar in black. It’s the day we encounter the death of Jesus; a death which our own sin and brokenness has a hand in, even 2,000 years later.But for me, Good Friday actually isn’t the most harrowing day of Holy Week.

Personally, the toughest day has always been Holy Saturday, that day between Good Friday and Easter.It's the anticipation of thinking, "Is it going to work this time?" Will we show up at church on Easter Sunday and hear the same story of new life, or is there still a chance that death wins? Because that's how it looked last time we were together on Friday night.

But thank God, (spoiler alert) Easter Sunday always comes!

That feeling of anticipation, the fear of wondering if it's going to work this time is a feeling which exists in many of Lutheran World Relief’s projects around the world. We work with families and communities full of need. Communities that have seen dry fields and empty stomachs, with no sure promise of rain. We work in communities that had long struggled, even before a natural disaster drove them deeper into poverty.

And thanks to the generosity of the Lutherans with which we partner, these communities are able to find new ways, new sources of hope. New ways of growing crops. New ways of providing for families. New ways of protecting themselves against the unknown. But there's always that fear. Is this new way going to work? Or is it just going to lead to more need and emptiness?

Then, like Easter Sunday, after what can be a tense and excruciating wait, new life rises from the dirt. In farming communities where your support has made an impact green things are growing which bring new life to families and new hope to communities.

So this Good Friday, and if you are like me Holy Saturday, as you live with that tension between the death and resurrection, remember these families around the world, your partners, who are nervously anticipating new life springing forth from the ground. And as we step out together in that new kingdom that Jesus announces let's share with these communities in the abundance of all God has given us.

Chandler Carriker served as Lutheran World Relief's Associate Director for Outreach and Engagement until July 2017. He currently serves as Vice President of Program and Engagement at Novus Way Ministries.