Stories shape our lives. The story of our family, our nation and our world gives meaning to our lives. My own story of being raised in western Washington, going east to college and then coming to Minnesota for seminary shaped my life. The simple story of how we met our spouse or how we chose our career has profound implications on our life. Do we simply drift along from one day to the next, or are we active participants?
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are molded by the story of Jesus, especially his last days. As we prepare to enter Holy Week, we have an opportunity to walk with Jesus from Palm Sunday to Easter, to enter his story. We can be with the crowd that cheered his entrance into Jerusalem, shouting our praise to our king. We can ask ourselves, “How do I allow Jesus to be ruler in my life? Am I simply following the crowd? Or do I fully seek to follow Jesus this week?”
On Maundy Thursday, we can enter the upper room with Jesus and watch him humbly wash the feet of his disciples. Are we willing to be servants like him? We can share in his meal of Holy Communion, remembering his steadfast, nurturing love for us. We can walk with him to the Garden of Gethsemane and pray with him as he seeks the Father’s strength and courage for his coming suffering. Will we stay close to him, when all the other disciples run away?
On Good Friday, we can stay in the crowd as they shout to Pilate, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Do we hear our own voices mingled in the crowd? As the soldiers nail him to the tree, do we hear his words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” and wonder if he is speaking to us? As he dies, do we feel the sorrow of Mary, his mother? Does something in us die as he is laid in the tomb?
Such a walk through the story of Holy Week prepares us for the ultimate story of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter.
Lord Jesus, keep my life in your story this week.