My pastor did a good job this Sunday setting the stage for this most difficult week.
I love the story where Jesus tells his disciples to go on ahead of him and find the donkey tied to a tree. Untie it and bring it here...and tell anyone who asks about it that the Lord needs it. So the people in that day would have been fine with strangers taking their donkey because the Lord needed it. (Would I be that happy to give up whatever the Lord asked of me just because it was the Lord who asked?)
Jesus enters the city and people lay down their garments to line the path He will come down. They put their clothes on the donkey for him to sit on. I had not thought before Sunday about the fact that people in those days did not have a closet full of clothes to choose from, or a washing machine to wash their clothes in or the money to replace clothes damaged by the hooves of a donkey. They were willing to do whatever they could to line the path with clothes or palm branches...rolling out a proverbial red carpet for Jesus to walk down.
And all the while shouting and singing "Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest." They loved Him. They thought He was worthy of a parade. They praised His name.
I can see myself in that crowd. Waving my palm branch, shouting His name, and being so excited that Jesus was in my town! I would get as close as I could. I would be jumping, cheering, smiling...
But I can't help but wonder...would I also have followed the crowd later and been yelling, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" I would love to think I would not have been a part of that vicious group.
But I don't have that much faith in myself.
Because isn't it what I do when I don't give it ALL to Him? Isn't that what I do when I hold a grudge? Isn't that what I do when I speak in anger? Isn't it? I may not have driven the nails into His hands that day, but my sinful ways kept Him up on that cross until He died a very painful death.
And that is always hard for me to contemplate during Easter. It is hard. But it is necessary. It is a time when I look deep into my heart and check my motives, my time, my talents...and then ask God what He wants me to do with all of it.
I guess you could say it is like Spring Cleaning of the soul.
And Easter is always that trigger point for me. Sure, I love the candy and the dresses and the ability to wear white and everything else that goes with the "Easter season", but what I need is the heart check. And it always comes. And it always hurts. But it leaves me cleaner, and closer to the cross and a whole lot more grateful for all He did for me on Calvary.
What about you? What does Easter mean to you?