As I have mentioned in past blog posts, I used to be a pastor, so sometimes I am still drawn to talking about matters of faith. And fortunately for me, the board of directors of Growing Hope does not mind if, on occasion, I use this blog post to talk about such things. In fact, they seem to want me to, for which I am very grateful. Especially during this which is known within most churches as Holy Week. What I would like to talk about today is why I enjoy Holy Week so much.
The reason I really enjoy Holy Week - if I can use the word "enjoy" in regards to thinking of Jesus' suffering and death without sounding morbid or macabre - is because I think it is SO important to really take time to contemplate our sinfulness, our brokenness as humans, and how, unfortunately for us, there really isn't anything we can do to get ourselves out of that sticky mess. As one passage from 1John puts it, "we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves."
Sometimes I think we can be misled, by our human nature?, by Satan himself?, into thinking that we are somehow on an upward journey and that we are somehow becoming better and better people. That we are becoming more righteous, more proper, more worthy of the respect and admiration of others. The question that notion strikes in me is this: What does it benefit us or anyone else if we think that we are becoming more righteous, more proper, more worthy of the respect and admiration of others? The way I see it, it doesn't benefit anyone for us to think this of ourselves. The only thing that type of thinking will do is erect walls between us and others. We will be drawn to people who we decide are more "like us" - righteous, like us; proper, like us; respectable and worthy of admiration, like us. And, we will be drawn away from anyone that we decide doesn't fit that profile.
We need to stop fooling ourselves. And, I guess this is why I enjoy Holy Week so much - it forces us, for at least this one week, to stop fooling ourselves. Let's get real, let's be who we are - I know, ugly, rotten, selfish, ornery - yuck! Now for the good news - WE need to be who WE are, and let JESUS be who HE is - our savior, who sets us free from our bondage to sin. WE don't make ourselves righteous, HE makes us righteous. And, what it means to be made righteous by Jesus is that even though you sin (and we all do), you are still loved by God.
Enjoy this week, my friends.