“Don’t Miss It!”

As you know, this weekend is Easter, the most joyous and important event that we celebrate in our Christian faith.  As the week leads up to Easter, we recall all the events leading up to Jesus’s Crucifixion and Resurrection.  The day he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey while people shouted, “Hosanna in the highest!”  The day he overturned tables and drove people out of the temple.  The many occasions of teaching he gave to his disciples and the local religious leaders.  The Last Supper where he taught his disciples how to remember him through communion.   The night he prayed until beads of blood formed on his forehead in the Garden of Gethsemane.  His arrest, his trial before the Sanhedrin, his conversation with Pilate, his beatings, the crown of thorns, and being led away to the hill on Golgotha while carrying his cross.  All of these events led and culminated in the Son of God being crucified on a cross between two criminals.  He was innocent.  He’d done nothing wrong.  And yet he hung there while onlookers mocked him.  Finally, after a few hours, he gave up his last breath and died.

Then, of course, we know what happened on the third day.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, rose from the grave, beating death!  He conquered the grave!  I know you hear it often (or at least, I hope you do), but let that sink in.  Like, really sink in.  It was the most amazing, incredible day in history.  Nearly 2,000 years later we are still talking about it and still amazed by it.  With how amazing it all is, shouldn’t we continuously all week turn our focus to the Cross and the Resurrection?

I don’t know about you, but can I just be honest?  My focus has been all over the place this week.  There have been so many things on my heart and on my mind that I’m struggling to intentionally and purposefully point my attention to Easter and all the beautiful events leading up to it.  My mind is being pulled in dozens of directions.

So God in His grace intervened.  Last Friday as I was thinking ahead to this week and thinking of all the things on “my list” and on my heart, the Lord so sweetly reminded me, “Don’t miss it!”  Don’t miss it, any of it.  Don’t be so focused on all of my personal things (and wow, there is a lot going on) that I miss the significance of Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection.  Don’t be so focused on all of my ministry-related things that I miss what Holy Week is all about.  (You would think that would be a no-brainer when you work at a church, but I confess that if my to-do list gets the best of me, I can miss the bigger picture of this glorious week.)  Don’t be so focused on all the bajillion other things I could be thinking about and miss what I should be thinking about.  Have you been focused on other things like me? Maybe for you your focus has been on family coming in town, planning a fun Easter egg hunt, or making sure Easter dinner will be delicious.  Or maybe you have been focused more on deeper things like grieving a loved one, losing a job, or tension in your marriage.

It’s not that those things don’t matter or that they’re not important.  For instance, God knows that I’m grieving a lot right now.  It’s not that my grieving is not important to Him or that I should push it aside for the next few days.  It’s also not true that my to-do list is completely unimportant and should be ignored until Monday morning.  God wasn’t saying in that moment that I can’t give any emotional, mental, or physical energy to those things.  Rather, He knows that my thoughts often circle around and around and I become consumed with stress, anxiety, and feelings of being overwhelmed…and that’s when I miss it. He knows that it’s been hard for me to be still lately — physically, mentally, and spiritually.

He knew that I would get off course this week so out of His great love for me, before the week even started, He helped me re-focus.  Thanks to His reminder on Friday, I’m determined to be still and make space to think about the significance of this week and weekend.  I don’t want to miss it.  I don’t want to wake up on Monday morning and realize I just went through the motions.  I want to pour out at home and in ministry with genuine joy and celebration!

Maybe you haven’t struggled as much as I have this Holy Week to be focused.  That is wonderful, and I may need to steal a play from your book!  But maybe you have really struggled.  If that’s the case, my encouragement to you is that it’s not too late to re-adjust and re-calibrate so that nothing else going forward is lost on you.  Spend time reading through the gospels starting with Palm Sunday and reading through to Easter.  Ask God to help you throughout the next several days to always come back to what He is teaching or showing you this Easter.  Maybe it’s something you’ve read before but now you’re seeing it in a fresh light.  Maybe He is wanting to transform your heart this Easter.  Whatever it is (and it’s different for all of us), don’t miss it!

I pray that this Holy Week and Easter you’re able to focus on and celebrate this most joyous time.  How beautiful would it be if all God’s people celebrated Jesus the same way those in Heaven do — pure, whole-hearted devotion! Let it not be lost on us.  Don’t miss it.

Pressing on in faith, Jennifer