*Taken from the Archives, Holy Week 2012, written some nine years ago, the words seem so fitting. I could never have imagined the forthcoming “COVID-19” pandemic. The global trauma that took the life of my own 92-year old mother (August 2020). This Tuesday of Holy Week 2021, I share it again, with a few updated thoughts and meditations, marked by an (*) so you know it is being written today. I encourage you to try your hand at a Holy Week Haiku.
Change Strips the Soul Bare
Change strips the self bare
A slow steady pace forward
Fresh starts and clean slates
I woke up yesterday morning before dawn.
Primarily because my husband had to be at work very early. Usually, his rustling and bustling, lights on, etc. don’t bother me. It’s payback really (smile) because I go to bed late. Not terribly late, but later than he does. So I hustle and bustle and turn the bathroom light on while he is trying to go to sleep. It evens out, in a weird “twenty-seven years of marriage” way *(now, 37 years of marriage and still the same habit).
Grace makes it work. So, when I couldn’t go back to sleep, I decided, “Get up, girl. Go for that morning walk with Jesus you so desperately need.”
I am so glad I listened to that angel sitting on my shoulder. A morning walk with Jesus was exactly what this weary woman needed.
Mental Benefits of a Morning Walk
Listening to the lyrical arias of the morning songbirds.
Stopping to bask in the rays of a rising sun.
Tuning into the silence.
Leaning towards heaven, hoping for a whisper.
Untying and disentangling from voices that drain.
Embracing the lessons of the dawn.
And then, one vital lesson unfolded right before my eyes.
Unlovely on the Inside
As I walked through the snow shower of surrounding trees, there it was. That very unlovely fragrance.
How on earth can a tree (the tree on the R in the photo) so stunning, so lovely, and so radiant, emit such an unlovely fragrance? Immediately, I stopped and heard a familiar God-whisper:
Isn’t this a mere reflection of ourselves?
Adorned to be lovely, on the outside,
yet often emitting the unlovely on the inside?
Quickly, I was reminded of 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 (The Voice), which reads:
Yet I am so thankful to God, who always marches us to victory under the banner of the Anointed One; and through us He spreads the beautiful fragrance of His knowledge to every corner of the earth. In a turbulent world where people are either dying or being rescued, we are the sweet smell of the Anointed to God our Father. To those who are dying, they smell the stench of death in us. And to those being rescued, we are the unmistakable scent of life. Who is worthy of this calling?
We Can’t Please Everybody
This spoke directly to several confrontations I had encountered earlier in the week. My life definitely was a stench to several individuals this week. I could go on and on, but the bottom line is this:
- Am I paying attention to my inner life?
- Making sure my attitude and character are grounded in the grace of God?
- Do I cast judgment easily and without blinking?
- Am I really walking in the way Jesus would have me walk? Not in the way “organized religion” shoulds me to walk, but truly walking in the “way” of Jesus Christ?
Now, I know I can’t please everyone. No matter what, I will be a stench to some. Not everyone is going to actually like me. Nor, am I responsible for making everyone like me. But, I am responsible for maintaining my inner life—the condition of my soul and mind. I do this by:
- Making sure I spend time with Jesus, the One who will gently and lovingly shape me into His image.
- Managing my sharp, oft-harsh, words to those around me. Or, perhaps, even worse, to myself.
- Helping me pause when I want to judge, compare, or complain.
- Increasing my awareness of “shaming” behaviors or nonverbals and allowing me to shift to “gracing.”
- Empowering me to love the unlovely.
The Air Itself, Thick with Good and Evil Forces
As I read from Amy Carmichael’s, “I Come Quietly to Meet You: An Intimate Journey in God’s Presence” (edited by David Hazard), her words, “The air itself, thick with good and evil forces,” really captures the essence of that last week in the life and ministry of Jesus:
Quiet time. The term is vital, descriptive of the very manner
in which we receive an in-flooding
of the Lord’s life….To those entangled in the ways
I have described, there will always
come a need to exercise the special energy that
comes from a life lived in close union with the Lord.
It may be a trial, from which our flesh shrinks
in dismay. We may sense a coming conflict-the air itself,
thick with good and evil forces, wrestling, and the evil
so terribly strong. And yet we feel bound by invisible cords,
and we ask, ‘Why do I feel so weighted down, so hindered?’
In such a moment, we may call upon the God of fire to
burn our bonds and set us free to fight the fight,
to make us strong to stand, peaceful and strong,
in heavenly place with Christ Jesus.”
Ahhh. Powerful words for our deliberate, intentional Holy Week journey towards the aria of Easter.
Maybe take a few moments to create your own Holy Week HAIKU (5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables).
*Here’s another one I thought of today (March 2021):
I walk slowly, now.
Taking it all in, thinking.
Today is enough.
Please share with all of us over on Facebook: Stronger Every Day Community and join in this week’s conversation(s).
More Holy Week Resources on the Podcast