The Whole Story

03-24-2024Pastoral Reflections Colleen Jurkiewicz Dorman

The Bible is a strange book.

It’s one of the only books that most people never read in its entirety, even those who claim it as one of their favorites. It’s also one of the only books that we feel comfortable chopping up and sectioning out. There’s nothing wrong with that, really, until people start making wholesale judgments of divine revelation based on one tiny part of it. You can’t base your belief system on a few lines from Leviticus and ignore the Gospels, just like you can’t embrace the teachings of Jesus and ignore the Old Testament. You need to accept the whole story, in its entirety, or none of it means anything.

But it’s hard, because accepting the whole story means patience. It means critical thinking. It requires endurance. It’s easier just to throw a line from Leviticus at a problem and be done with it.

Holy Week reminds us that salvation history is a tapestry, not a collection of threads. As beautiful as the individual stitches might be, you won’t appreciate the message unless you back up and look at the complete product. If we didn’t have the whole story, Holy Thursday and Good Friday would be neither holy nor good. And without Holy Week, Easter morning means nothing — it’s just a guy waking up.

How often in life do we find ourselves confused to the point of hopelessness, unable to make sense of it all? Overwhelmed by the pain and suffering that exists in this world, and for seemingly no reason. Some of us become so frustrated we throw up our hands and despair.

We need Easter. We need the whole story. We need to be patient.

“His disciples did not understand this at first, but when Jesus had been glorified they remembered that these things were written about him and that they had done this for him.” — John 12:16