“ARE YOU READY?” the park attendant yelled. My friend and I felt the safety bar clamp down with a loud click, followed by a clack. With a jerk and a loud screech, the car began to roll down the first hill, up the second, and down into quick turns, flips, fast ups and downs. It was a 30-second exhilaration that made my heart beat fast and drove my adrenalin up. It was so great, I wanted to do it again. I went back to stand in line. The wait was only 35 minutes this time.
When I was in high school and went to the Six Flags for Physics day, the manager had a question-and-answer period. One of the first questions had nothing to do with the physics of the rides, but why the wait was so long. The manager said that it was as much a part of the ride as the ride itself. He said that by the time people arrived at the start to get in the car, they were already excited with anticipation, and the ride drove that excitement to another level, at least for those who still wanted to go.
As we work our way through the time of Lent, we are journeying toward a new life, to the promise fulfilled. As with the ride, the great anticipation leads us to a glorious new experience. Easter provides us a glimpse of that glorious new experience. By Easter in most parts of the country, some early flowers are beginning to bloom, and we begin to see signs of nesting birds and new life all around us. The gloom of winter transitions to the beautiful blue skies and sounds of spring.
As we work toward Easter, we need to do so with diligence and patience. Easter is the beginning of something new. It is the most important day of the Christian year, not only because it is the prophesy fulfilled or the promise of life eternal. It marks the beginning of a journey that will take us to new places and make us feel things we would not have otherwise felt.
Isaiah prophesized that in the coming of the Lord, the world would be called into something new. Thus, the world was going to begin a journey, one that would be new and glorious. He said, “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise.”
As we prepare, we must get ready to take the new journey that we are called to by Christ. We must challenge ourselves and overcome our trepidations to allow Christ to change and mold us.
I barely got on the ride that time. It was the first roller-coaster I had ever been on, and the whole time I had been standing in line, I knew where the exits were. By the time the attendant screamed, “Are you ready?” I did not have much time to say yes, no, or dart; I was ready whether I wanted to be or not. In our lives, we are on a journey with Christ. Granted, there are times we don’t realize it, but it is through this journey that we prepare ourselves for what is next, the Resurrection.
Rev. Dr. Bryan James Franzen