We invite you to take a peek inside our weekly Light for the Way devotional series provided for staff.
By Pastor Chris Wheatley, Senior Director of Pastoral Care Services
"Now I remind you, brothers and sisters, of the gospel that I proclaimed to you, which you received, and in which you have made your stand. For I handed on to you of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, and that in accordance with the scriptures, on the third day he rose again." — 1 Corinthians 15:1, 3, 4, NIV
We are in Holy Week, remembering the climax of the Gospel story. And in many ways, it mirrors the tragic tales we tell in which heroic figures die for their beliefs, ideals or causes, such as Mahatma Gandhi or Joan of Arc.
Or perhaps even more directly, the Greek philosopher Socrates. Since earliest times, the Church has noticed similarities between his death and Christ’s.
Both men were considered troublemakers by the ruling class, without having done anything wrong. In fact, both spent most of their time trying to help the common people and teach them a better way to live. Socrates questioned the nature of political power. Jesus announced the coming of a Heavenly Kingdom.
So naturally, both were arrested and tried. Jesus silently endured many false accusations before he was finally asked directly whether he was the Messiah. Only then did he choose to speak, knowing that this would lead to his crucifixion. Socrates, too, spoke the truth about his life, knowing that it would provoke the jury and sentence him to death.
Both men died as a predictable consequence of the way they lived. Both men stayed faithful to their purpose even when it became evident that it would cost them everything. From a human perspective, both stories are both inspiring tales of greatness that continue to mold future generations.
What makes the Easter story different is that it goes one step further. Socrates dies for truth; Jesus dies for truth and love, and Death cannot hold him. He is risen.
Every human story ends at Good Friday. The most we can possibly do is give our very lives for what is right. God’s story is the only one that can turn an ending into Eternity. This Holy Week, remember that God wants you to share in Christ’s story, and continue by his Resurrection into everlasting life.
Rev. Chris Wheatley serves PHS as Senior Director of Pastoral Care Services. He is an ordained Lutheran pastor and has served in hospice, eldercare, hospital, HIV/AIDS and congregational settings. He and his wife Nicole are perpetually outnumbered by cats and Dobermans.
The Light for the Way series provides staff with an examination of a biblical reading to deepen our focus on scripture. Thank you for engaging with this series as we seek wisdom through prayer and reflection as a Christian Ministry.
Find more in the Light for the Way series:
Finding God in the real-life stories of others
Crying out to God who listens
Witnessing God's faithfulness and the early signs of a 'new normal'
Introducing Light for the Way, a new devotional series
In addition to Light for the Way, you can find reflections, devotions, music and other resources on the Pastoral Care website.