It’s Friday but Sundays comin’
Every year during Easter time I think of Tony Campolo, a now retired American Baptist pastor and college professor. Tony has many times delivered a sermon entitled, “It’s Friday, But Sunday’s Comin’.” I first heard him preach it almost 40 years ago, and I have never forgotten the experience. It is a sermon that was first delivered by an African-American Baptist pastor in Philadelphia. The sermon starts out this way:
“It was Friday and my Jesus was dead on the tree. But that was Friday, and Sunday’s comin’!”
“It was Friday, and Mary was cryin’ her eyes out. The disciples were runnin’ in every direction, like sheep without a shepherd, but that was Friday, and Sunday’s comin’!”
The pastor who first delivered this sermon went on for an hour and a half in this vein. It ended with him shouting “FRIDAY!” And the congregation yelling back “SUNDAY’S COMIN’!”
It is the best Easter sermon I have ever heard. Certainly, it is more potent than any Easter sermon I have ever delivered.
While it is a sermon expressing a hope which is always relevant, I feel this year in particular a need to rehear those words. This has been a difficult year in our country and in our world. Natural disasters have recently taken the lives and homes of folks in Columbia, Peru, and the United States. Terrorists acts still destroy families in many countries. It is heart-breaking to see what has happened in Syria and continues to happen in Iraq. In light of the tensions with North Korea, some have a sense that we are closer to a nuclear war than we have been since President Kennedy was in office. As I write this there is talk of a “nuclear option” in the procedures of the United States Senate. It is “Friday” in our world.
It is “Friday” — a time when many refugees in America I know are scared about their future and are losing hope that family members will join them in the U.S. It is “Friday” — a time when the dream of a better world for the next generation seems to be fading. It is “Friday” in the lives of families struggling together as one of them suffers from cancer; as they grieve the death of a family member; as they wonder how to keep their house and put food on the table and still pay their medical bills. It is “Friday” for many families.
Yet, my friends, “SUNDAY’S COMIN’!” The good news we celebrate tomorrow is that Jesus does rise from the dead! God knows our plight! God sees our days of despair! God loves us and offers us hope through His risen Son, Jesus Christ! Through belief in Jesus we are set free from sin and death. Through the Spirit Jesus sent after his resurrection, we are given strength and comfort as we face our “Fridays.”
Through the power of the Almighty we know that whatever challenges are coming our way – man-made or otherwise – there is light at the end of the tunnel, grace which will overcome hopelessness, peace which passes all earthly understanding. Because of resurrection Sunday, we know what the Apostle Paul so well expressed in Romans chapter 8:
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NRSV)
I encourage you to go to church tomorrow and rejoice with the saints that Sunday is not only coming, but it is here! And you can live in hope instead of despair because Jesus lives! Trust Jesus with your life – put your faith in him for salvation now and for eternity – and face whatever may come knowing that Jesus “has overcome the world!” (John 16:33)
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