Celebrating the Empty

Unlike any other Holy Week many of us have known, this one truly began with an “emptiness.” Specifically, churches across the globe had empty seats on this Palm Sunday. Our businesses, streets, and stores are almost empty~as schools and too many more places to mention. Are our hearts feeling empty?

Do we really know what it means to sacrifice?

Does this week look empty on your calendar? Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus had a line-up of situations during this week I’d rather not face. It started beautifully as he entered Jerusalem on this day. Can you hear the Hosannas? Can you see him riding the donkey through the gates and the fanfair all around him? The palm leaves and hands waving and bowing at his presence? JESUS KNEW WHAT WAS COMING. There would be a trial, a beautiful supper, prayer time in the garden, a betrayal, an arrest, and a crucifixion.

In the garden, Gethsemane, he felt 100% like us. He felt sadness, anguish, and isolation. He was in AGONY. “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want YOUR will to be done, not mine,” he prayed (Matthew 26:39 NLT). It grips my heart. This prayer touches me more deeply than any other.

As we spend this week focusing on the last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry, may we remember this-one week from today we will CELEBRATE THE EMPTY!When that stone rolled away, the tomb was EMPTY. And that vacant tomb gave us victory if we so choose! Jesus lived a sacrificial life, dying at age 33~selflessly for humanity’s sins.

I believe in a hill called Mt. Calvary,
I believe whatever the cost
And when time has surrendered
And Earth is no more
I'll still cling to the Old Rugged Cross

I believe that this life with its great mysteries
Surely someday will come to an end
But faith will conquer the darkness and death
And will lead at last to my friend

I believe that the Christ
Who was slain on the cross
Has the power to change lives today
For he changed me completely
A new life is mine
And that is why by the cross
I will stay

Written by William J. Gaither/Gloria Gaither/Dale Oldham

Do you think 2,000 years ago Jesus would have abided by the “social distancing” and “stay at home” mandates? He was the man who mingled with lepers and the diseased~the dirtiest, the messiest, and the cleanest of humans. Some were blessed to touch just the hem of his garment. Are you reaching for it?

I believe he’s walking among us now. We’re never isolated. We’re never alone.

Have faith 💚