Next week we begin the observance of Holy Week, one of the most sacred times in the Christian faith. With the arrival of Palm Sunday, we finally end the season of Lent, a time of reflection and repentance readying us for the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.
We all have lots of things in our lives that impede us from fully embracing the salvation the Jesus gave us through His death and resurrection. Greed and hatred are in our hearts; we have not rid ourselves of other impediments to let us fully know Jesus. But we have one more week to take a look at ourselves.
As the Apostle Paul said:
- “I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,” (Philippians 3:10)
We all want to live a life that is guided by Jesus. And we know that it is not going to be easy. And no matter how hard we work, we are never going to be as perfect as Jesus. But all He asks of us is to try.
- “I want to know Christ” (Philippians 3:10)
Said the apostle Paul. Did he mean that we ‘know’ Jesus in our head or in our hearts?
There is a big difference from knowing a fact or ‘head knowledge’; all our brains are full of facts, things we have learned throughout our life. Some we remember immediately and some take a while to remember. We know important dates, names of people who are close to us. These are stored in our brain.
But there is another type of knowledge; knowledge that exists in our hearts: things that tug at our soul, making us feel warm and fuzzy. That is the ‘know’ that Paul was talking about. It is intimate; a personal knowledge of God, of God’s love and our place in His world.
When we have that deep love of God and Christ, we have the desire and determination to follow Jesus. We want to live a life that shows others the love of God and Jesus. Each and every day we try to treat others as we are commanded in Matthew 7:12:
- “do unto others are you would have them do unto you”
And in Matthew 22:39:
- “love thy neighbor as thyself’.
This is the way to gain that inner knowledge of God and Jesus. And with that knowledge, we are assured of eternal life through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. We are assured by Jesus that He has
- “gone to prepare a place for us” (John 14:3)
So in this last week of Lent, we have one more chance
- to draw nearer to Jesus,
- to embrace the unconditional love that God offers us,
- to prepare ourselves to be fully ready to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.
We can do this through identifying those things that we want to change about ourselves. We can do this by
- spending time in personal reflection of where we want our lives to go.
- feeding our spiritual needs.
- trying to fully live into the Golden Rule.
We have one more week. Just one more week.
Please join me in spending the remainder of this holy season of Lent in prayer, asking God to prepare our hearts to share and to receive the stories and truths that challenge each of us most. And celebrate the gift of eternal life.
Delivered at In The Garden, Trinity Episcopal Church on Capitol Square, Columbus, OH; 13 March 2016