Author Tony Campolo’s most famous message declares, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Comin’.” But what happens when it’s Sunday and we’re still facing death and despair?
Jesus has been unjustly charged and condemned to die. It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’. The religious and political tyrants have stopped His rebellious message. It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’. He has been brutally beaten, stripped, and nailed to a cross. It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’. Christ is sealed in a tomb, his dead body guarded by Roman soldiers. It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’.
The message builds to a powerful conclusion when the pastor simply shouts, “It’s Friday!” and the congregation responds, “But Sunday’s comin’.
But . . .
It’s Sunday in the United States and 4,000 unborn children will be aborted tomorrow. One out of four children will be sexually or physically abused. Five thousand teens will attempt suicide; thirteen will succeed. Sixteen young adults will be murdered. Over two thousand unmarried teens will get pregnant.
It’s Sunday in the United States and this weekend, five thousand parents will tell their children they’re divorcing. One out of every twenty adults will not have a job to go to tomorrow. Over 85,000 people will die. Out of that number, 17,000 will die of some kind of cancer.
It may be Easter Sunday, but throughout the world, people in the pews are still dealing with the effects of abuse and divorce, crime and violence, life-threatening diseases, unemployment or “under employment,” depression, and grief from a the loss of a loved one.
In fact, holidays have a way of compounding a sense of loss. Perhaps there will be one less person at Easter dinner because of a death or divorce. Maybe there is less on the table because of financial pressures.
“It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin'” is not always comforting. But that’s only half of the story of Christ. The Bible’s book of Revelation, chapter 19, provides, the rest of the promise:
It’s Sunday, but Jesus is coming!
It’s Sunday. Environmentalist warn of “global warming,” acid rain. depletion of the ozone layer, and carcinogens in our food, but Jesus is coming!
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth . . .
It’s Sunday. Political unrest and corruption affects virtually every country. Christians are oppressed, persecuted, and executed by ungodly governments, but Jesus is coming!
With justice he judges and makes war. . . . On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
It’s Sunday. Today, two billion people throughout the world will go to bed hungry. Millions throughout the world are suffering from abuse and illness. Many more millions are grieving the loss of loved ones, but Jesus is coming!
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.
It’s Sunday. Unfortunately the actual celebration of Easter may distract us from the very Christ we honor by practicing for cantatas, buying new clothes, and preparing Sunday dinners, but Jesus is coming!
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be will be with them and be their God.
This certainly doesn’t mean we shut our eyes to the suffering around us. God commands us to do everything in our human power to relieve suffering and to work for justice for all.
But the good news of Easter goes beyond “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’.”
It’s Sunday, but Jesus is coming!
Copyright © 1995 James N. Watkins
• Easter hope and humor