Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Wednesday, April 13, Morning – Holy Week Day 3
By Rev. Tim Best, Senior Associate Pastor
The Pioneer of Our Faith
Read: Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
It is Wednesday. Holy Week builds throughout the week, with services on Thursday and Friday, and decorating and other preparations on Saturday. Come Sunday we will all be dressed in new clothes and filled with excitement and acclamations of resurrection. But today is Wednesday. We are between the palms and the passion. This is not the night of the last supper or even the day of Jesus resting in the tomb. Today is a day to prepare our hearts for what we are about to experience. We are about to remember the brutality of human hearts, the rejection of love incarnate, and the betrayal and suffering of our Lord.
That is the harsh way of looking at the next few days. Yet, Hebrews helps us see Christ’s passion in a different way. Human rejection is met with divine love. Where the powers and principalities reject and harm, God endures and loves. Where Jesus’ followers abandon him out of fear, Christ remains faithful and gathers a community to encourage us in the race set before us in life.
When my sister was a young child she had gone somewhere with my dad and fell asleep on the way home. Our father attempted to carry her inside the house but began to lose his balance on the icy path to the porch. The best thing (to keep him from falling at least) would have been to have dropped my sister on the hard snow and ice and recovered his own balance. That isn’t how love works though. He instinctively fell backwards, knocking the wind out of himself and gaining some bruises in the process. The sudden motions of course woke up my sister.
Jesus has endured suffering and death so that we might not be separated from God’s love. As we journey together in faith in the next few days ask yourself: “How am I seeing in this work of Christ, in his passion, that he is the pioneer of our faith?”
Let us prepare our hearts to witness and proclaim the mystery of our faith acted out: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. Amen.