This is Holy Week, a time where we Jesus-followers go to church even more than usual (for some of us, we’re finally getting back in the door since LAST Easter, which, apparently, is OK with Jesus).
And if you’re part of a church staff as I was for most of my career, Holy Week can also be Holy **** Week.
There are SO many details to prepare for all those extra services and the many returning church-goers (in hopes of getting them to stick around).
And if you happen to also be part of the music team, like I was – Lord, have mercy. You can pretty much forget about sleeping well or making healthy food choices or not getting in massive fights with your spouse and/or children and/or contracted flautist.
I used to rail against the fact that for us church-staffers, Holy Week seemed to be such a frenzied scramble, but then I learned two things:
- Much of the frenzy was in ME and I had been projecting it on to others. There were many fellow staffers who could handle the extra load AND be mindful of the rich significance of Holy Week. They weren’t better than me, but they were certainly living better than me.
- A week saturated with mundane details, full to overflowing with to-dos and impossible-to-get-dones…is exactly the place Jesus seems to delight in working.
I’ve never been a big fan of reality. I would much rather live in my head than, you know, do stuff. I’d rather fantasize about how it could be, what could have been, or – more often than not – what I’d look like with six-pack abs (I’d look good).
People I trust tell me that’s all a way of avoiding responsibility for my life, and I’m starting to believe them. But still, reality isn’t naturally the place I want to plant my flag.
But it was for Jesus.
The mundane and ordinary. The messy and ugly and boring and exhausting. The non-6-pack, this-is-how-it-actually-is stuff of life. That’s exactly where Jesus is living and working. And where I’m invited to live and work with him.
To practice that, here’s what I’m doing:
I’m turning back to him every time I feel like I don’t have what it takes to be with the boys a little longer, or the energy to get through all my “starred emails”, or the hope to remember there are blue skies out there, somewhere beyond my Pacific northwest horizon.
I’m praying simple prayers like, “Jesus, help me see what you see” and “What are you up to here?” and “Help me to do the hard thing.”
As I do that, I’m finding that reality’s not a half bad place to live. Sometimes it’s even great. I’m serious – my life feels different simply because of this steady convo with Jesus throughout the day.
On Palm Sunday, my pastor and friend, Scott, preached on why the mundane can be so life-giving. He talked about the guy who lent Jesus his donkey so he could ride into town and people could wave palm branches at him and say “Hosanna!”
All the guy had, said Scott, was his donkey. So he gave what he had. It was a great day for that donkey. And probably for his owner (“Hey! That’s my donkey! You go, boy!”)
So here’s some ordinary words from an ordinary guy. Here’s my attention and energy and to-do list. Here’s my half-donkey attempts at becoming the best version of me.
Take it all and make it holy, useful, impactful, transformative. For me and everyone around me.
And help my church musician friends make healthy food choices this week. Amen.