Holy Week is always a challenging time for me.
The secular part of our Easter world is about bunnies and chocolate and big meals… all of which I adore!
But, rightly, the Christian part of our world revisits the events of Palm Sunday, the Washing of the Feet, the Last Supper, the Betrayal, the Crucifixion. We strive to remember the sacrifice of our Lord as we get ready to celebrate.
In an April 2020 article in the Wall Street Journal, journalist Gracy Olmstead wrote, “Today’s grim reality makes it a good time to remember that the real Easter story—the cornerstone of the Christian faith—revolves around profound suffering. Jesus’ life was filled with more anguish than any of us can imagine. The infant Jesus was born in a muck-filled barn, tucked into an animal feeding trough. He and his parents were then driven from their homeland by King Herod, who slaughtered all the children under the age of two in Bethlehem. During his years of ministry and preaching, Jesus was often ridiculed, forsaken, and threatened. At age 33, he was betrayed by one of his closest companions, spit on and beaten by the religious leaders of his day, tortured by Roman soldiers, and then nailed to a wooden cross.”
Sometimes, as we go through our somewhat sanitized lives, we forget what Jesus went through to get to that remarkable day of Resurrection! We want to jump to the good part… where the good guy, Jesus, wins. We want to celebrate that… with bunnies and chocolates and big meals. But, that undermines the whole Easter story, which, as Olmstead said, truly begins with a baby’s birth in a muck-filled barn.
Society also wants to do that to the suffering of the children at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. It is truly hard to hear their complete stories. We would much rather just hear when they are doing well. We want to know they are in school, they have a job, they have friends, and a new forever family!
While it's great to celebrate that “new life” they create, we must also remember what they have endured. They have seen horrors and traumas that no one should face. Abuse, hunger, violence, rape, molestation, demeaning, loss, and betrayal are all part of their stories. We celebrate not only what they achieved, but the evils they conquered through their success.
It is not Jesus’ triumph over death alone we celebrate, but his triumph over evil and our sins as well.
Have a thoughtful Holy Week, and a beautiful, rejoicing Easter. Please pray for the kids and staff of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
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