It’s hard to believe, but we are now entering Holy Week. I can’t recall how many times I’ve been told how early Easter is this year and that it won’t be this early again for hundreds of years (or something like that). Our church, like many others, will be commemorating the last week of Christ leading up to his crucifixion and resurrection. That means that Palm Sunday is upon us.
One of the things that comes to mind about Palm Sunday is how fickle people can be about their devotion to Christ. Many of the people who celebrated Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem by giving him the red carpet treatment were calling for his execution a few days later. It’s difficult to understand how the tide of public opinion could have turned against Jesus so rapidly, and even prior to his coming Jesus knew that it was going to be dangerous. He went to Jerusalem anyway to endure incredible pain and suffering. For a while, though, things looked pretty good as he entered town on a donkey. Not the most prestigious arrival, but no one could confuse Jesus with a military leader. His followers raised palm branches rather than swords. The week started off pretty good.
Holy Week 2008 will be an opportunity for reflection and personal inventory about our spiritual condition. There are a wide range of emotions associated with this week, and our church family will do what we can to experience them. What I hope will occur is that we will come through this time with a greater awareness and appreciation for what Christ experienced for us. I hope we will be challenged to a deeper level of commitment to the Lord and not be swayed by what may or may not be the popular thing to do. The other reality should be keeping “the main thing the main thing” and not allow ourselves to get off the path and into the weeds. The weeds are the things that really aren’t theological or doctrinal in nature but somehow seem to distract the church from its mission. These issues can be personality driven rather than relating to the mission and ministry of the church. It’s hard to be miltant about getting your own way when you’re standing at the foot of the cross. What seems so important really pales into relative insignificance. I guess this is another way of saying to choose the right battles. Not everything is worth getting keyed up about.
Our church family said farewell to a very dear woman this week who touched many lives through her sweet spirit and positive attitude. She struggled valiently but ultimately could not overcome in her battle with cancer. We will miss her dearly, but will grieve and grow together through the journey. Easter will be celebrated knowing that she and others who have gone before are experiencing first hand what the power of resurrection means. My prayer will be that Holy Week provides an opportunity to slow down and marvel at the grace that is ours in Christ Jesus. We all have been enthusiastic about our faith at times and then later betrayed our Lord through our words and actions. The inconsistancy is frustrating, but can be appreciated more by being reminded of the Apostle Paul’s own struggles to live out his faith.
May we continue moving forward in faith, thankful for forgiveness while deepening in our understanding of what this time on the Christian calendar is all about.