I think for someone to say “I really like Holy Week” is kind of weird. Yet, it is the EPITOME of what it means to be a Christian. We would not BE Christians if Holy Week didn’t exist. I lose a lot of tears this time of year, regardless of my season in life, and yet I still deeply love Holy Week.
It was this time of year that I came back to the church.
It is a time of year that we remember the ULTIMATE sacrifice that God in flesh made for us. Think about the hardest, the VERY HARDEST, trials in your life… you tried to change them. You tried do what you could to make it feel better. You did what you could to make it move faster. Well, here He was, God in flesh, who could move mountains and he ENDURED the crucifixion. He CHOSE to endure it. Yes, he had the power to change it but he did the Father’s will anyway. This makes me contemplate the trials before us. Before me…
Let me be honest, I cannot sit in chaos very long. I cannot endure trials as long as maybe I should. I am a fixer. If there is something wrong in my life then I just want to snap my fingers and get on with it… life is to short. Yet I heard something this morning from Chuck Swindoll and he said that our society has been warped in thinking that we NEED to be happy. That we have tricked ourselves into believing that happiness is on this side of death. …that we need to avoid trials and conflict. He considered it a generation thing, although I think it could be that but also a society thing. This leads me to think about our consumerism and misplaced thinking about how things can bring happiness or a sense of completeness with the sense of ease and pleasantness.
As humans, we’ve long struggled with acceptance of trials. Consider the Jews in Egypt. There Moses was, freed their lives from slavery and yet they were still grumbling. Life was too hard for them wondering in Egypt. The said they would have rather been slaves.
It is so hard to lean into trials. We all have our own stuff. Some people are caring for elderly parents, dealing with their own sicknesses, child problems, marriage problems, finance problems, sins that they know are sins but not sure how to fix them problems… we ALL have something. We are not perfect. We WILL NEVER BE perfect on this earth.
Again I reiterate, this is the sanctification. This is our purification process. Through trials we become COMPLETE and PERFECT!
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2
I also feel the need to reflect on another topic, that I think a large group of Christians struggle with. It took me a LONG TIME to get here but I am led to tell you also:
It is also this time of year that we sing, so often, a song that forever makes me lose it, “Jesus, Remember Me.” Although I think the reason WHY I used to lose it was for the wrong reason. This beautiful song is the same statement over and over, “Jesus, Remember me when you come into your kingdom.” It is a request to our Lord and Savior to remember us when He gets there… as if He could forget us. While I can appreciate this request, it also sounds like there is a hint of doubt about our salvation.
Also, we celebrate communion EVERY Sunday so we focus on this sacrifice a tremendous amount and we say the same thing, every Sunday. “Lord, I am not worthy to receive to you, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” Well, that was the way we said it until a year ago. But know this:
So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, – Ephesians 2:19
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. – Romans 5:9
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23
Yes, we need to reflect on this ultimate sacrifice but learn from it. Celebrate your brotherhood/sisterhood. Celebrate this wonderful gift that we have in knowing full well where we are going when life on this planet ends.
Yes, there are things we need to do here on earth while we are here. We MUST listen to our call and obey. We MUST fully understand what our commands are and obey. We MUST do all of these things not for our salvation but for our own good. If we go through life and avoid some of these calls because we know they are hard, or we ignore the commands because society also is, then we are doomed to fail. Yes, we will be punished but it does not mean that we will be denied heaven.
Think of it this way. If your child does something wrong, what do you do? You discipline them but you still love them. How much better is God than our own ability to parent? Yes, we will likely be disciplined if we purposefully sin or we stray or we go against the teachings we know are correct and true, but we are ALWAYS welcome into the arms of our loving God.
Yes, it is important to focus on this ultimate sacrifice (“Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.”). It is important to reflect on the pain and the horribleness of the occasion. Yet, it is more important to emerge on Sunday with thankful hearts and praise Him for our forever home.