Monday, April 2, 2012

A Holy Week?

"We are supposed to reflect on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ every day." This was the thought I was raised with and the reason I never really thought twice about the practice of lent or other spiritual disciplines I heard my friends participating in. As a matter of fact, this Sunday, my thoughts were interrupted when my pastor referred to this very week as "holy week". I couldn't recall if I had ever heard that term before in my life.

Why is this week any more "holy" than another week? Is there really something special about Palm Sunday and all the days leading up to Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday? After all, isn't Jesus' death and resurrection just as important on the 4th of July and Thanksgiving?

In the four years since I lost my dad to cancer, my thoughts are invaded with memories of him almost every day. There are a few days, however, that cause me to reflect on his life a little more intentionally (his birth date, death date and Christmas, in particular). These dates and occasions prompt my heart to reminisce.

It's not any different with this holy week. Palm Sunday. Good Friday. Easter. They are all prompts to remember. These occasions can challenge my heart and soul to think more intentionally on the life (and death and resurrection) of Jesus.

Does it really matter what religious practices had my participation in the past? When I found myself struggling with the term "holy week" because my denomination didn't label it as such, I embraced the challenge. I can utilize this week to prompt my heart to reflect more purposely. I can embrace this week as a "holy week" for one reason: to draw me closer to the cross.

The cross, my friends, can never be reflected on enough. God loved me so much that He sent his one and only Son to die for ME (and for you). This sacrifice should overwhelm my heart and bring me to my knees. Jesus blood has made this life (and the life to come) possible. And the power we find on Sunday enables us to share in it all with rejoicing.

Will you join me in being intentional this week? Set aside time each day to stop and reflect on what was happening to God's-Son-who-knew-no-sin-and-yet-became-sin-for-us over 2000 years ago. They were declaring Him king on Palm Sunday and gawking at His crucifixion they had shouted for on Friday. Can you picture yourself in the crowd? Where would you have been? Is there a Biblical figure you can personally identify with from this story?

Open up to the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and read the account of this week we are remembering. Allow God to penetrate your heart. Define where you stand in your relationship with Him. He publicly declared where He stood in His relationship with you. We have the cross as our reminder. Who is Jesus to you?

"We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body. He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he's there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross. You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God's side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. You don't walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted. There is no other Message—just this one. Every creature under heaven gets this same Message." - Colossians 1:15-23

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