As we move into Holy Week I think it would be beneficial if we took advantage of the opportunity that The Almighty has given to us. Opportunity? Yes, we have an excellent set of circumstances to quiet our hearts, our minds, and our bodies before Him. Psalm 46.10 tells us to… Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! In doing so we can recall with greater appreciation the Passion of Our Lord.
That classic verse is essentially a commandment. I left my normal Bible reading plan on April 2, and decided to read the entire corpus of scripture in twenty-nine days–or at least make a game effort at it. And in yet another rereading of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) it hit me afresh just how deep a level of stubborn and stiff-necked behavior God’s people can achieve without much effort. Continually we witness the Israelites complaining and whining and rebelling against God. He delivered them from over four hundred years of slavery in Egypt, and yet it was not enough for them. Believe it or not they actually moaned about how much better they had it in Egypt.
Are we any better? Hardly. God has been very patient with His people in the West. While our fellow Christians suffer, bleed, and die for the Name of Christ in multiple arenas, we engage in an array of trivial pursuits. When was the last time you had a serious discussion with a fellow Christian about the suffering and privation of other Christians–when the pastor wasn’t around? I once had someone ask me why we had “all these strangers” on our prayer list. My answer was that they weren’t strangers to the person who asked that we pray for them. For decades Christians in America have been coasting. We’ve been lax in attending Sunday worship, and in Europe church attendance is more of an oddity than the norm. And, suddenly, God has removed that privilege from us. Yes, you can listen to sermons–and watch worship services on video. But it is not the same.
I think one thing God is doing is giving us more of what we’ve been asking for with our actions–time away from the people of God, and time in front of a screen. When the Israelites complained about their food supply, He gave the them so much food from the sky it overwhelmed them.
This is the time of year when we especially meditate on the sufferings of Jesus in the last week of His earthly life. Do so with care. Take your time. Your soul will thank you for the time spent in so doing.