This Sunday is Palm Sunday, which kicks off the Christian celebration of Holy Week. This is the week that Christians celebrate Jesus' passion, beginning with his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Later in the week we celebrate the Last Supper that Jesus had with his disciples on Thursday. Then, of course, Good Friday marks his crucifixion, concluded of course by Easter Sunday: the celebration of the Resurrection, the final triumph over death.
In the ministry world, Holy Week is probably the busiest of the 52 weeks in a given year. This might be a bit non-intuitive on the surface, as most would probably guess that Christmas is the busiest season of the year. This could be true, but there is a significant difference between Christmas in Easter, namely that the Christmas season is celebrated over the course of a month, while the Easter holiday is focused all in one week.
This week I have a total of five worship services to plan and conduct, five rehearsals to facilitate, one special event to coordinate, one meeting to attend, six newsletter articles to write, and probably dozens of other things that I'm not thinking of. All in all, it's an exceedingly busy week.
One of the primary dangers of working in ministry is neglecting one's own spiritual health. Quite frequently ministers will only spend time in the Bible for presentation purposes. That is, our only Bible reading takes place for the purpose of presenting what we have learned to an audience, such as in a class or worship service. Another danger is that ministers can sometimes lose the corporate sense of worship. They might feel detached from the rest of the congregation, as they bear the burden of preaching the word and conducting the worship for the rest of the community. Believe it or not, ministry is a dangerous profession in that it has the potential to disconnect a minister from the word and from the fellowship, which is ironic, considering that a ministers main duties are to the word and to the fellowship. Often times, these failings come as a result of pride, selfishness, sinful busyness, and a lack of humility.
These dangers are especially evident during busy seasons, like Easter.
But what's especially comforting about this reality, and particularly because it is especially intense during Holy Week, is that Holy Week is all about inabilities, shortcomings, and oversights. For these things Jesus faced the cross and death. Because I am sometimes proud in my ability to study the Bible to the extent that I have made it a subject to be mastered rather than a word from the Lord to transform my heart, Jesus went to the cross. Because I have the tendency to selfishly and pridefully think that things won't get done without my expertise as though I am the missing piece of the puzzle, Jesus went to the cross. Because I sometimes put myself above others, Jesus went to the cross.
It is during these busy seasons when it is especially beneficial for me to slow down and remember why it is I am running around like a chicken with his head cut off. This simple reality helps to change the way I approach things and conduct my business in the church. What a comfort and blessing to know that even my efforts in leading the bride of Christ in the worship of her Bridegroom fall short, and that those failings are covered.
May God be glorified during this Holy Week by his church at Riverview, and by my restful obedience in his finished work.