As we enter into another Holy Week, the Christian calendar really picks up its pace. Yesterday, on Palm Sunday, our Lord has come into Jerusalem, at long last arriving on the streets that have called Him from His very birth, for this very moment. In the days to come, we shall break bread with Him in the Upper Room, stand with Him on Gologtha, mourn for Him in the silence, and search for Him in the grave, where He will not be found.
And with all of these events taking place this week, I have but one prayer for the Christian who will journey the Cross this week:
Don't let it be just one more thing.
Don't let this week be just like any other week, a week in which you go to work in the morning and come home at night and cook dinners and pay bills and take the kids to practice or to their performances or to their friends' houses and stop by the grocery and have the oil changed in the car and, oh yeah, this is a special kind of week and so you must also swing by the church a time or two for a thing or something.
It's all too easy for us to do church this way, especially "special" church. And if we're not doing church this way this week, then perhaps we are doing some sort of Bible study or devotional or personal prayer time that is supposed to help us to celebrate this Holy Week. Because, of course, it is important. Because, of course, it's just for this one week.
Because, of course, we will "make time" for it. Just pencil it in somewhere between all the other things we're doing this "regular" week.
But Jerusalem is not a day trip; it's a sojourn. It's not a place you go and take in just a little bit of this or that, hitting a couple of the hot spots, and then go back to your home, to your "real" life until the next time. This is the time, and Jerusalem is the place to be.
It's the place to be from yesterday, from that very moment when our Lord stepped foot onto its streets. He's been telling us about this for a long time. He's been preparing us for what will happen once He comes, and now, here He is - entered into the city with the fanfare of a coming King. You expect that that noise would have just...died down? Quit for a few days? Quieted into a boring kind of hum-drum week? Hardly!
Jerusalem has come alive! We, of course, know how the story plays out, how it ends - or at least, how it seems to end - in death, but today, the streets are buzzing with all the enthusiasm of a promised Messiah, the chosen one of God, the long-awaited King finally come in to take His throne. He's here!
And most of us...most of us will content ourselves this week to just stop by for a bit. If, you know, we have the time between all the other things we're doing. Because it's a normal week first, right? It's the Monday-through-Friday grind first, and oh yeah, it also happens to be Holy Week, so maybe we should church or something.
Don't let this Holy Week just be "or something." Don't let it be another errand on the list. Don't let it be a chore that you have to complete. Don't let it be the kind of thing you pay attention to if there happens to be some time left over at the end of your day and certainly don't let it be the kind of thing you come to resent because it's another act of "busy" on your already-busy schedule.
Listen to the echoes of the shouts of joy. Listen to the whispers of anticipation. Listen to the people as they buzz with excitement over this incredible thing that has happened. After so long in waiting, He's finally here - the Lord Himself is here, come into Jerusalem to take His throne. Get a little bit of the dust on your feet and don't worry about washing it off. Add your voice to the chorus. Shout Hosanna!
For it is Holy Week, and the Lord is come.