This is Holy Week.
While ‘Christian Culture’ gets this a little backwards by making Christmas bigger than Easter, the truth is for Christianity this is THE week. The events the church will remember during Holy Week – the stories of betrayal and faithfulness, of agony and love, mark who we are as Christians. God connecting the depth of Jesus’ torture and death to the demonstration of God’s raw love and power through the resurrection of Jesus forever changed everything. And it still does.
I invite you to enter into the story this week. It will eternally shape you. I will also share a harsher truth. If you do not enter into this week, or treat faith as a one-and-done kind of affair, that does not change Holy Week in any way. What God has done in Jesus remains. Those who discover this truth find life while those who do not never will.
Sometimes in the church we bend over backwards to be ‘relevant’ and believe me as a pastor I am guilty. We want the world to know the life that is possible in Jesus. We want to spread the idea of love and God and neighbor as the foundation to an abundant life. At times, though, we risk contorting the Gospel to the world in such a way that we make what God has done in Jesus unrecognizable. We have to remember, ultimately as followers of Jesus we bend our will to His and say ‘no’ to the corruption of making faith a secret endorsement of our own worldliness and sin.
My advice would be to simply let Holy Week shape you, and not make it the other way around. To come into Holy Week with preconceived notions of what ought to be is to go through Holy Week in precisely the wrong way. This is the week where we submit ourselves and let the truth of who Jesus is and what God has done straighten us out and draw us into a life that matters to God.
The resurrection of Jesus stands. And while Jesus loves, longs, and beckons us to accept the invitation to enter in, the truth is the resurrection in no way relies on us.
We can make Jesus the heart of who we are or dismiss him. He can be relevant or irrelevant to us to the degree we choose. Perhaps that is the dangerous reality of Holy Week. We control to what degree we in let Jesus in. Whatever our choice, though, the truth of Holy Week is that the events of these days will remain. Pray with me that each of us chooses well.