Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday – these are some of the special names for the days of Passion Week, the most significant week in the Christian calendar. Today I am engaged in my annual tradition of observing Reflection Tuesday, a day to consider the glimpses of glory I saw last weekend. Allow me to caption seven mental snapshots.
- Fervent Friday: This year’s Good Friday had unique intensity, with an unprecedented 250-plus in attendance. Greg Plitt, one of our elders, led us through a summary of God’s plan of redemption from creation to the cross, highlighting many Old Testament types of Christ which foreshadowed the coming of the Savior.
- Truly Forsaken: The most arresting moment for me Friday night was the consideration of why Jesus cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” A compelling case was made that as Jesus bore our sin, the Father did forsake him, which was the ultimate suffering he faced.
- Sunrise Service: Every year we hope to get enough people to attend the 7am service so that the 9am and 11am aren’t ridiculously full. What a thrill this year to have 175 at the early service; nearly double our average! The 6am breakfast was also marvelous.
- Friday Flashback: The worship team did a marvelous job leading us in joyful celebration of our risen Savior. But one of the most impactful moments for me was the pause after we sang about Jesus’ burial, ‘Messiah still and all alone.’ It was totally dark as that note was held and we pondered the verse, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
- Sore Throat: My throat was definitely hurting by the end of the last service on Sunday; not from preaching but from singing. The music was so compelling, with its blend of old and new, soft and triumphant, rich voices and excellent instruments, that I simply could not keep myself from singing with all I had. I praise God for our worship pastor and the many wonderful volunteers who work so hard in their service.
- Spirit Companion: It might sound weird for me to reflect on what I liked about the sermon, but I think it would be weird if I didn’t. While the ‘no condemnation’ in verse one is overwhelmingly joyful, my take away is from verse 9. “…but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the of the body, you will live.”
- Kingdom Ahead: The sunrise photo from our trip to Hawaii became for me a helpful touchstone of the hope we have in Christ. There is a kingdom coming where righteousness reigns and sin is no more. It’s not a theory or a misty notion. It’s more real than the air I breathe and my soul is freshly excited to see it. I pray you are too.