This week is probably my most favorite of the year. It is Holy Week. Yes, I know its March Madness time, but nothing compares to the maddening irony of Jesus entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday in triumph as a king, yet is part of his journey to the cross. The shouts of “Hosanna!” would soon turn to “crucify him!”
One of the greatest things, I believe, that an observance of Holy Week (Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday) does for us is center our lives in and around the person and work of Jesus Christ. After all, as believers and followers of Christ it only makes sense that all of our lives would completely center in Him! But Holy Week uncovers to us that our lives have been too much centered in self, in many other things with competing lords and masters.
A few weeks ago I went on a week-long prayer retreat, as I try to do every year. Whenever I get away and engage in the disciplines of solitude, silence, fasting, contemplation and prayer it does not take me long to discover that most of my life is being lived in an unhealthy rhythm that centers round a grueling schedule with many responsibilities and demands.
Perhaps the greatest gift we can give to God is the precious gift of time – unhindered, unfettered, unadulterated time with no other agenda except the enjoyment of the divine. What is more, maybe the greatest gift church leaders can offer a congregation is the gift of having truly met with God which spills over into a heart of compassion for people.
Clarity is a rare quality in today’s Christian ministry leader. Yet it can only come at the cost of extended time listening to God. It is no wonder that pastors and ministry staff burn-out so quickly and become so easily discouraged. Blessed is the Christian who eschews the world’s values of extreme busyness and constant activity in favor of walking, even slowly sauntering in the way of Jesus.
If Holy Week teaches the contemporary Christian leader anything, it is that we have lost our way. After all, if we have given any credence to the season of Lent we will discern that our lives are off-kilter. We must come back to re-connecting with our vocation of soul-craft and using words, being wordsmiths of the gospel in such a manner as to doctor people to grace and forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Tedious, patient construction of souls is our divine task.
May the remembrance of Christ’s death, and the hope of His resurrection inspire and renew your spirit toward centering all of life around Jesus.