Okay, first things first -- thank you to everyone who came and helped us to clean out “Carol’s Closet” on Sunday after the service. Longtime FCCer and patron saint of our Vacation Bible School Carol Johnson left not only a legacy of ministry and love for reaching out to children with the Gospel of Christ, but also a whole lot of really colorful stuff in her closet (and by “closet” here, we mean “her whole house”). So on Sunday, the church building was overflowing with tables and racks neatly filled with dog costumes, designer dresses, stuffed animals, really really nice shoes, fascinating hats, cookbooks, and other spectacular items. Personally, I donated $5.00 just to get a bee costume so that one of our Youth would wear it at their Wednesday night meeting this week. As a result of everyone’s participation and generous donations, we were able to not only clear out space in Cliff’s house, but also to raise over $500 for our VBS this year!
As I type this, Wendy is already hard at work prepping out the bulletin for our Palm Sunday service this coming up this Sunday. If you can join us for that or for anything else coming up, then please do -- and if you can’t join us, then please be praying for that Sunday, as well as the next seven days after that, since this Passion Week is going to be the second-busiest week of our year this year (after the aforementioned VBS week). Please pray that our Passover Seder on Wednesday, Winter Jam concert on Thursday, Good Friday service on Friday, and Resurrection Sunday service (and breakfast) on the next Sunday are all not only enjoyable, but genuinely moving and life-changing for all of the people involved.
In our message this week, we continued to look at the last 24 hours of Christ’s life, this time looking at the trials of that last day.
Now, when I say that, it’s tempting to assume that I mean Jesus standing before Herod or Caiaphas or Pilate. But the word “trial” originally just comes from the same root as the word, “try” (“making an attempt” -- which itself was an agricultural term, talking about culling the good from the bad, the right from the wrong). When you think about it, the trials of that last day really began at Gethsemane, when Jesus and Peter and Judas all faced their intense trials of choosing the genuinely right from the genuinely wrong.
And even those trials had their roots during that last Seder time that they spent together. Jesus honored God and served those whom He loved by getting on His knees and washing their feet in humility. Peter saw that humility as humiliation, and couldn’t handle it -- he was so special that he couldn’t let Jesus wash him like the others... and then so special again that he wanted Jesus to wash differently from the others. And even though Jesus washed Judas’ feet as well, Judas still chose to choose money over God.
So in Gethsemane, when the rubber hit the road, Jesus chose to honor God, even though He’d rather not have been crucified... while Peter chose to ignore Christ’s teachings and prophecies and attack rather than love... and Judas chose to betray Jesus, even when Jesus gave him one last choice.
I don’t know what trials you’ll face this week, but when they come, will you have spent time preparing your heart before they arrive by getting down on your knees and making sure that your perspectives honor God in general in the first place? And when they come, will you choose to stand up and walk like everyone around you, or like an ambassador of a greater King and Kingdom?