A Reminder for all of us on Easter

March 16, 2022 by Rev. Lorenzo Small

I must admit I can forget things quickly, especially on Sunday mornings. My mind is moving a mile a minute and once I get focused on the preaching hour, anything you may have asked me to share with the congregation is lost. So, I have made it a habit of telling people to “remind me, please” during the service because there is a strong chance that I will forget.

Given my experience, I am much more patient with the disciples who could not seem to remember what Jesus had been teaching them for nearly three years about his death and resurrection. I recognize that my forgetfulness in such a short window of time is due to my inability to hear because I am so focused on what I want to do at that moment, preach. Like me, maybe the disciples were so focused on what they wanted to do or what they wanted from Jesus at that moment that they could not hear him on this issue.

There is something about being in the heat of the moment that clouds our memory or impedes our hearing. Can you imagine the heat of that moment after the turn of events that week? An entry into the city fit for a king, only to land Jesus, their teacher and the one whom they loved, on a cross, to be humiliated for all to see. All their hopes and dreams were crushed in a few short days.

How could they remember that he taught them that this must happen and that he would rise in the face of such a tragedy? We certainly want to believe we would have done differently. That we would have been waiting by the tomb in joyful expectation of Jesus rising from the dead. However, I have little confidence that we would have done any different. See, I can’t even remember to remind the congregation of a change in the week’s schedule even though the clerk asks me to do so right before service begins. I forget every time. Not only that, consider how the current moment, COVID-19, global warming, inflation, the war in Ukraine, etc., may be directing our attention away from the promise and hope of this story. So, I am much more patient now with the disciples, unwilling to ridicule them for not remembering.

The hope in this text is that Jesus knew they would forget. So, he made preparations to remind them of all he had taught them regarding his death and resurrection. The women, the angels, and Peter’s sprint to the tomb all serve this purpose. Think about it: every year we remember what took place that faithful week. I think it is more than just a tradition.

Like Jesus’ actions on behalf of his disciples that day, I believe Holy Week is His way of reminding us now of what he taught them then and what they, in turn, are teaching us now. As we gather this year in remembrance and celebration, let us again hear the voices of the angels to the women on that day, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” (Luke 24:5b-7).

But unlike the disciples, let us not doubt and like Peter let us run, not to an empty tomb, but to a lost and dying world telling all we meet along the journey that He indeed lives and so can they!

Rev. Lorenzo R. Small, Sr., serves as pastor of First United Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, N.C. He attended North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, N.C., where he studied finance, and he pursued a career in healthcare following college. He later answered the call to ministry, graduating from Union Presbyterian Seminary in April 2013 with a Master of Divinity degree. Rev. Small was ordained as a PC(USA) Teaching Elder and installed as the pastor of Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, S.C., in 2014. He accepted the call as Pastor of First United Presbyterian Church and preached his first sermon there on June 18, 2017. He is married and has three sons and enjoys traveling with his wife.