The Paschal Mystery: Life out of Death

Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us.
1 Cor. 5:7b, NLT

rouault-crucifixI recently heard Holy Week described as the “Super Bowl of Christianity, the World Series of the Lord, the March Madness of God, the World Cup of our faith.” You get the picture, crass as it may be. This week is the most important week of the Christian faith, when we enter into the paschal mystery.

What is the paschal mystery? The word “paschal” comes from the Hebrew term pesach, or Passover. “Mystery” refers to the Divine truth and life as contained in Holy writ and interpreted through the ages in the Church. The paschal mystery represents the redemptive “Passover” plan of God which finds its culmination in the passion, death, resurrection, ascension, Kingdom reign and second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It subsumes all human reasoning and experience into the truth and life of the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And it beckons us, each of us, to die with him and in him, and to be resurrected with him and in him. Cross [IC XC NIKA Jesus Christ Victorious]“Dying you destroyed our death; rising you restored our life; Lord Jesus, come in glory.” (from the Roman Missal in English)

As we enter into the core of Holy Week, let us remember the costly, immense sacrifice of our Savior, bearing our disgrace, shame, humiliation and sorrow. But let us also enter into the victory of Christ, celebrating the fullness of the paschal mystery that reconciles all humankind to God.


About the author

Dr. James R. Hart has served as President of the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies since 2007. Dr. Hart was a member of the first IWS doctoral class, the Alpha class, and served as Dean of Students during his matriculation. After graduating from IWS, Dr. Webber appointed him as the Dean of Administration, and then Provost in 2006. In June of 2007, he was inaugurated as the second president of IWS. Dr. Hart holds a B.M. in Sacred Music from Oral Roberts University, an M.M. in Trumpet Performance from the University of Tulsa, and a D.W.S. from the Institute for Worship Studies. He was critical to the formation of IWS in Florida and has held administrative responsibilities since its inception in 1999. He is a professional trumpeter, choral director, and worship leader, and a published composer/arranger, songwriter, and author. He has been involved in worship leadership in various contexts around the globe for over 40 years and has taught in the areas of worship, theology, and music in various conferences, colleges, and seminaries. Dr. Hart and his wife, Carol, have three daughters and three grandchildren.