It’s Wednesday of Holy Week.
Stop. Take a breath.
Breathe in the anointing at Bethany,
Breathe in the cries of “Hosanna!” as Jesus enters Jersualem.
Breathe in the quiet of the upper room.
Breathe in the anguished peace of the garden as Jesus prayed and found his strength in the moments before the crucifixion.
With the clatter of boots on the garden flagstones, the story turns. A rush to judgment. A rash sentencing. And the death of Jesus.
Praise God the story turns again on the morning of the first day of the week when Jesus walks out of the grave, conquering death and sin forever.
And take a moment to think about the story itself.
There’s an old hymn we sing at church every now and then called I Love to Tell the Story. Maybe you know it?
I wonder, though, what story we’re talking about when we sing the hymn. Are we talking about the events of Holy Week?
I hope not. Because the story of Jesus and his love stretches much, much further back into history. The story of Jesus stretches back to the garden itself in those desperate moments after the first couple sinned as God pronounced his judgment.
His judgment on the snake told of his future defeat.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15, ESV)
God’s love flows through the pages of the Bible in every story. Through the stories of the patriarchs to the story of the Exodus. Through the rise and fall of the kings of Israel to the exile to Babylon. Through the return to Jerusalem and Roman subjugation.
The height of his love? Sending his son to die on the cross and to conquer death through his resurrection.
That is the old, old, story of Jesus and his love.
I love to tell the story. There’s truth in the line that says, “for those who know it best seem hungering and thirsting to hear it …”
Do you remember how the line ends? “for those who know it best seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.”
Like the rest?
As much as I hunger and thirst for the Word of God, I wonder if those who don’t have it in their own language hunger and thirst more for the Word.
Can those of us who know the word – who have learned it and cherished it in our first language – know what it’s like to have never heard it in their mother tongue?
There are believers around the world who will celebrate the resurrection this Sunday with no Scriptures or with Scriptures written in a trade or government language they understand only minimally if at all.
Does it make a difference?
I used to volunteer with The Seed Company, an organization dedicated to bringing God’s Word to every language in this generation. It’s not a small task. There are more than 2,000 people groups around the world who don’t have the Scriptures in their language.
I don’t remember what language in what country, but I remember a story from years ago in which a translator took a draft of the Easter story from the book of Luke to church. After the service, women approached the translator with tears streaming down their faces.
“Why have you never told us this?” they asked.
The pastor was stunned. He told them he read the same story every year. But, they said, they understood it this year when it was read in their heart language.
Their hearts heard the story.
If you love the story, think about partnering with The Seed Company. You can partner in prayer, financially or by volunteering.