Your Sorrow Will Turn to Joy
Our friends at Desiring God have put together a helpful resource for us as we head into Holy Week. Eleven pastors/leaders have written morning and evening devotions for us from Palm Sunday through Easter to help us process what took place that historically pivotal week and what it means for us today. David Mathis, Executive Director of Desiring God writes this in his preface:
In one sense, there’s nothing special about “Holy Week.” Just another sequence of eight days each spring—nothing is intrinsically holy about this Sunday to Sunday that moves around the calendar each year. We have no mandate from Jesus or his apostles to mark these days for particular observance. Paul, for one, would be quite happy for us to partake, or not. “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” (Rom. 14:5). Clearly, the celebration should not be pressed upon the conscience of others. “Let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath” (Col. 2:16). Marking Holy Week is not an obligation, but it is an opportunity. It is a chance to walk with the church, throughout time and through the world, as she walks with her Bridegroom through the most important week in the history of the world. It is a chance to focus our minds on, and seek to intensify our affections for, the most important and timeless realities. While not mandating the observance, or even suggesting it, the New Testament does give us (indirect) reason, if we’re looking for it. The final eight of Matthew’s 28 chapters are given to this one week, along with the last six of Mark’s sixteen and the final six of Luke’s 24. Most significant, though, is John. Ten of the Gospel’s 21 chapters—essentially half— deal with the final week of our Lord’s life, his betrayal, his trials, his crucifixion, and his triumphant resurrection. Even Acts, which then narrates the life of the early church, returns to the events of Holy Week with frequency (see, for instance, Acts 1:15–19; 2:22–36; 3:11–26; 4:8–12, 24–28, among others). Indeed, it could even be said that all the Old Testament anticipates this week, and the rest of the New Testament reflects it in theology and practical living. ...Slow down and savor these meditations. Meditate on the truths in these meditations. Perhaps block out several minutes. Find a comfortable place to sit. Quiet your soul, and pray that God would meet you in these words. Consider spending a few moments in prayer after you read and turn these truths Godward in adoration of Christ. In the chaos of our increasingly fast-paced and hectic society, Holy Week is a reminder to pause and ponder, to carefully mark each day and not let this greatest of all weeks fly by us like every other. May it truly be a week for being newly grounded in the love of Christ, which is so plainly on display from the resolve of Palm Sunday, to the ultimate sacrifice of Good Friday, to the triumph of Easter Sunday. And may you freshly know the love of Christ, in all its breadth and length and height and depth—and wonder upon wonder, be filled with all the fullness of God." (David Mathis)
Look for the blogposts this next week, beginning tomorrow. May God bless you as you quiet your soul before him and may he increase your affections for him exponentially.