(picture by Dinah Roe Kendall)
Second Day of Holy Week
Yesterday we observed Palm Sunday with the help of Chong, Morgan, Baukje, and many others behind the scenes. Chong led us well from the noisy Palm Sunday service that we are used to, to the quiet, substantive peace we can experience in Christ. Then we joined together for a virtual visit to one another’s homes, related new experiences of this season, and shared our prayer requests. It was so good to be together!
Today’s Scripture is Matthew 26:6-13 which you can read or listen to here. This passage tells the story of the time when Jesus was anointed with expensive perfumed ointment, an act of devotion. John added the details that it was Mary who anointed Jesus, and that it took place six days before the Passover (John 12:1,3). Jesus received the anointing as it was intended, “a beautiful thing.” Think of what Mary did as an act of pure worship, very costly, from her heart. Then Jesus adds the interpretation which Mary may not have been intending: “she did it to prepare me for burial.”
In any other year, this week would be one of preparation. Many of us would be readying our houses for Easter dinner guests. Others would be hiding Easter eggs in the yard for the kids’ scavenger hunt. Certainly there is a lot of shopping and cooking and baking, getting ready for gatherings of various kinds. Easter services would be written and rehearsed, festive choirs assembled and practiced.
Little or none of that will happen this year. The externals have been stripped away this year; all that is left is interior. That being the case, how are you preparing for the commemorations of Jesus’ death and resurrection? This is our opportunity for a Holy Week like none other. But only if we are willing to put the same energy into the interior preparations as we normally give the exterior preparations.
If you’ve ever worshipped with any of the many songs of Matt Redman, such as “Blessed Be Your Name,” then you know something of his influence on Christian worship music. When he was a young music leader and his church was enjoying the euphoria of a worship revival, his pastor one day decided that the church had lost the meaning of the worship they were offering. The pastor so took away all of the sound system and instruments. “His point was that we’d lost our way in worship, and the way to get back to the heart would be to strip everything away.” Out of that was born our song for today, “The Heart of Worship" (click to hear it), and the formation for many other Matt Redman songs. You can click to read more about the story behind this song.
This unique Holy Week, you are invited to remember that “it’s all about you, Jesus.” Now that the externals have been stripped away by this virus, what is it that you bring to Jesus in worship and devotion?
In closing, let’s pray together as Jesus taught us to pray:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Click here for the blessing to take with you you today (on the next screen, press the triangle to play):