Holy Week…

For millions of Christians worldwide, this is Holy Week, a time for coming aside, a time of serious reflection on Christ’s steadfast journey to the Cross.  

My Pentecostal heritage has deep roots in the non-conformist and holiness thinking around at the time of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in South Africa in the early 1900s. In fact, my paternal grandmother was one of the first converts in meetings John G. Lake held in Johannesburg at that time. Consequently, the only seasons in our denominational calendar were Christmas, Easter and Pentecost.  Holiness and continually seeking the favor of God were taught as the atmosphere of everyday living, so the mere ideas of Lent and Holy week seemed strange and man-made, not how we understood the practice of New Testament Christianity at all. And somehow, for me at least, busyness in church life became the evidence of sincere discipleship.

Until we started our itinerant ministry during Bible School days, I had virtually no meaningful contact with Christians from non-Pentecostal backgrounds, and to this day I cherish what I learned during my first real exposure to believers for whom quietness and meditation were a vital part of their daily faith life, people for whom ‘being’ was as important as ‘doing’. Interestingly, and such are the ways of the Holy Spirit, some practices I had dismissed as mere tradition, now became important expressions of what it means to ‘wait upon the Lord,’ something I found profoundly liberating and peace-giving.

So, in this week before Easter, as I meditate on the way our Lord Jesus ‘set his face like a flint’ (Luke 9:51) to fulfill his destiny and secure our salvation, I take time to be quiet, to accompany him on that journey. I take a fresh look through his eyes and see the people he taught along the way to the cross, sometimes things I KNOW they found difficult to hear! I hear him commending Mary for “choosing the better part” and am drawn to my knees at his feet. I catch my breath at his agony as he looks down history yet to be made and weeps for the peace of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41,42).

In spirit I stumble after him all the way to Pilate’s judgment hall and suddenly I am reminded of the chorus of a song often heard in our old church at this time of year:

“What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be…” I gave up neutrality a long time ago and made my choice: “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:19).

My dear friend – may your Easter be marked by a fresh understanding of what our Lord Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the living God, accomplished for us!