Our reflective Lenten journey is complete and our celebrative journey into Eastertide has begun. But before we leave Holy Week too quickly, there are a few takeaways from the stories we encountered we need to bookmark, a few lessons for daily living that may help us follow Jesus more effectively.
The overarching message of God’s love and forgiveness is demonstrated through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. However, the passion narrative actually is a composite of individual episodes that contribute to the central plot, which reaches its apex with the Cross and the empty tomb.
As I look back on the events that occurred during Jesus’ pivotal week in Jerusalem, here are a few lessons about life and faith I want to remember:
- Every temple needs cleansing now and then. This includes those built of brick and mortar and those composed of flesh and blood.
- Parables prompt us to stop and think. Rather than telling us what to think, the stories of Jesus stimulate us to think more deeply about the intersection of life and faith.
- Servants lead, and leaders serve. Taking up the towel and basin is simultaneously an act of service and an expression of leadership.
- Commands are non-negotiable. A mandate is different than a prerogative or a preference. For example, “Love one another” is a command to be obeyed, not an option to be considered.
- Table time is treasured time. Breaking bread around the table with friends is an occasion to be remembered.
- Pray the prayer of holy indifference. Jesus prayed, “Not my will, but your will be done.” I must pray the words of this prayer continually because my will is so blatantly self-oriented.
- Beware of those who kiss up to you. They either have an agenda of their own or they are in cahoots with those plotting a coup.
- Avoid judging others. In fact, be careful not to judge Judas, for we too may be tempted to betray Jesus, but for much less than 30 pieces of silver.
- Going along with the crowd is always a risky venture. Crowds seldom make wise decisions. The will of God is rarely determined by popular vote.
- Death does not have the final word. The Resurrection declares that life conquers death and hope prevails over despair.
Each of the daily stories that comprise the big story of Holy Week has something to teach us about bringing faith to life. These lessons from the life of Jesus inspire us to be more faithful followers and they equip us to be better disciples.
Barry Howard serves as pastor at the Church at Wieuca in North Atlanta. He also serves as a columnist and leadership coach with the Center for Healthy Churches. He and his wife, Amanda, reside in Brookhaven, Ga.
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