“When a willing victim who has committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”
-C.S Lewis in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
We are about to begin Holy Week in El Salvador. The week is observed around the country in various ways, but this year I hope to have some quiet moments to reflect on what it means to go from death to life, and to see death itself overcome.
The quote is from a children’s book beloved by many. The hero of the story is Aslan and he is ultimately resurrected. The words above come from his mouth as he shares the greatest secret of all…when a perfect sacrifice dies for a traitor death itself begins to work backwards, loses its grip, and becomes undone.
Of course the story parallels the Easter account which we are preparing to celebrate…an innocent sacrifice died in the place of all of us traitors to God. Not only was a stone pushed aside…but death itself was rolled away and it all began to work backwards.
It really is backwards in the Kingdom of God. Those of us who deserve death are the ones who live. The hold of death becomes loose and then slips away. What remains is life, and hope, and new.
Last week we celebrated wonderful new in a way that could only be described as a Resurrection. We honored our clients who have remained sober since COVID-19 arrived in El Salvador. After two months of sobriety in our temporary shelter, they made the hard choice to fight all year for recovery…to fight death and to choose life.
We celebrated them, and their choices. We celebrated their perseverance and their tenacious strength. And mouth after mouth proclaimed the mighty work of God. Because only God can reach through a deadly pandemic and pull men and women up on their feet and set them on a different path. Only God can push death backwards and guide those who are struggling with addictions and fear and trauma into a brand new life.
Not one of us even deserved to be seated at the table of celebration. But because of Easter we all have a place.
Because of Jesus.
Because of life.
Because in the upside down kingdom of God death gets pushed aside for life and we can all find healing.