A Word From Mr. Satterly—April 18, 2019

Dear WA Community,

I much prefer this modern world with all of its conveniences, as opposed to, say the middle ages. Yet, another event this week reminds us anew about the majesty and the profound impact of ancient Christianity. Maybe you missed it. In response to the flames that engulfed Notre Dame, ordinary people gathered and began singing hymns. Currently, others are pledging their fortunes to rebuild that magnificent cathedral. It should not be lost on us that in the face of trial, people often turn heavenward and look toward our Maker. One headline and photo focused on how in the midst of the rubble, the cross still stands. That seems like a fitting testimony.

Similarly, a little over a month ago, I was fuming over an unanticipated interruption to my modern-day air travel. As I paced about Midway Airport frustrated that our connecting flight was canceled, I noticed a few people walking around with an ashen cross on their foreheads. In the midst of my self-absorbed focus, I had completely lost sight of the date—it was Ash Wednesday. Sheepishly, I have to admit that without the soft and patient insight of my wife, I would have spent most of the day angry about an event out of my control. Instead, I was able to reflect on a much more significant event, that likewise, was out of my control—the sacrifice, death, and resurrection of Christ.

The modern evangelical church does not always practice Ash Wednesday. In the historical church calendar, it marks the beginning of Lent. For centuries, Christ-followers take this time to set aside certain comforts and engage in forms of fasting and reflection, preparing for Easter. On the other hand, most of us begin to look toward Easter during Holy Week. Contemporary churches typically celebrate Palm Sunday to mark its beginning and conclude with multiple services on Easter. Maybe in our too-busy world, a week is all we can spare to reflect and prepare. Still, that time allotment seems all too little, especially when brokenness and tragedy confront us on a regular basis. Maybe our church fathers had it right; we need to invest more time basking in the light of the gospel and how it has forever changed us.

He has risen.

He has risen, indeed.

Joel T. Satterly