This Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week with the celebration of Palm Sunday. There has never been a week like the days between when Jesus entered Jerusalem on the back of a colt through Easter morning. I’ve often thought about what it must have been like to be one of Jesus’ closest followers during that time. I’m confident they experienced every human feeling imaginable.
Central to Jesus’ story is that those who were closest to him were often the most broken. And it was through the imperfection of His followers that the power of God was revealed, the strength of God demonstrated, and the healing and transformation that comes from a relationship with Jesus was shown.
Jesus used the brokenness of his followers to spread the Gospel message and start the church. And the good news for us is that our Lord will use our brokenness too, if we will follow and trust Him.
Being a Christian is not about perfection, it is about openness. It is not about being good enough, it is about letting go. It is not about what we do, but about what God does through us. It is not about how righteous we are, but about how forgiving God is. This is why I am mystified by those who believe our Christian walk is about behavior and rules ahead of the hard work of love.
The invitation of Holy Week is to allow God to take us, bless us, use our brokenness, and to allow Him to give us to the world to do His work.
And the work we are called to do was made clear that first Maundy Thursday during the first Holy Week. The word Maundy comes from the Latin word meaning commandment. The commandment Jesus gave the last night of His earthly life was, “To love one another as He as loved us.”
If we want a glimpse of what such love in action looks like, we only need to see God himself, washing the feet of His broken and imperfect apostles.
It is interesting to me that many churches are named after the apostles, named after those who in the midst of their failures and weaknesses came to Jesus. Churches are named after those who understood that a relationship with Jesus starts not with our fullness, but at the heart of our emptiness.
Given that our churches are named after broken people who found a new life in Jesus, it is pretty clear to me who it is that Jesus seeks. He seeks busted apart and broken people that look a lot like you and me.
While the events of Maundy Thursday, which led to Good Friday point to the forgiveness we receive through Christ’s body and blood, to God using us precisely because we are broken and imperfect, and to the centrality of love and service, they also point to something else.
God wants His church to be the place where there are many ways to get in and where everyone is invited. There is room for all and no one should ever be left out.
When Jesus’ broken and bloodied body hung on the cross, He was doing it so that everyone might come within the reach of His saving embrace. And it is this kind of love, my friends, that we are called to show as we live our days imperfectly following Jesus and serving others.