Palm--Passion--Easter: this is the driving force that lay behind the Christian faith. We call it Holy Week. There’s a lot going on in this week. Fully a third of the gospels are devoted to this last week in the life of Jesus which should serve as a pretty good clue as to how important the early church thought of these last events.
Although there are still some growing churches (including ours), the overall trajectory of American Christianity is declining. Fewer and fewer people are carving the time into their busy lives to observe a Christian life.
I’m not absolutely sure one can draw a straight line from the decline in faith to a decline in the moral fiber of our nation, but I would also challenge you to find a better explanation. The things that were once thought of as right and wrong have now undergone an evolution of their own. Some of that evolution has been necessary. Some have grown and festered like a fungus that is hard to eradicate.
What I do know is that what has always been true about our faith is still true--living a life following Jesus is a better way to live. You and I both know too many people--friends and neighbors and even family members--who are desperately unhappy. The quest for meaning in the acquisition of “stuff” brings temporary smiles, but just like a two-year-old on Christmas morning, we get bored with stuff pretty quickly.
Following Jesus--especially during this week we call “Holy” will not solve every problem you have. But following Jesus is the best way to lean fully into life. A life that values beauty and truth and goodness. A life that respects all other life. A life that says you are loved and valued for no other reason than God says so and with nothing to prove to anyone else. A life that promises you will do some things badly, but that there is forgiveness on the other side and a chance to do better tomorrow what you may have done poorly today.
With all due respect, you can’t get all that at Rotary or Lions Club or Kiwanis or Civitan. All fine organizations, but none that can promise what God does.
So this week is a week to “re-engage” if you’ve been drifting. Holy Week is the account of how God goes “all in” with Jesus. It’s our chance to do the same. Come to Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services this week at 6:15 p.m. Come to one of the three Easter services on Sunday at 6:30, 8:30 and 10:30.
The staff at the church will attest that I am woefully ignorant of computer things. I’m learning, but it isn’t “intuitive” to me and so I must depend on their kindness of pulling me through. One thing I HAVE learned, though, is that when the computer starts to act up and not perform correctly, the first thing to be done is to shut it off so that it can “reboot”. Most of the time, this solves the problem.
Would you understand me today if I suggested Holy Week is the perfect, spiritual reboot?