We live in such a harsh, multi-dimensional world. I’m continuously shocked at how people behave online. We’ve moved from worrying about our face to face interactions with people to worrying about both the offline and online worlds we operate within. I remember as a young girl the effort I made to get myself ready to be with others – desperately wanting my outfit, hair and demeanor to be polished upon arrival. I had time to get ready for people and put on my best. These days we are always with people due to the web and our socially integrated existences which means we must live ready for face to face interaction and screen to screen interaction. In marketing these now synonymous worlds help us create viral messages which at the end of the day ends up generating someone’s bottom line big MONEY. In real life though these collided worlds have created opportunity, community, and straight up craziness. I’m positive as our online worlds have created a new type of chatter, we do not really see the power of what we’re brewing up behind the scenes.
We’ve all seen by now the power of anything that goes viral whether a video, article, or picture.
Like the Listen Linda video. If this was my kid I would not be laughing, but since he isn’t it’s freaking hilarious. – Watch it Here
Or the video of the dude on wheel of fortune with both the best and worst luck I’ve ever seen in my entire human existence – Watch it Here
In a matter of minutes you can spark a heated discussion with the simple utterance of key words (none of which I will list here).
These new worlds have even paved the way for an entire new war to be declared – The Mommy Wars! (please do not sign up me up for this – while I’m very good at fighting I’d prefer to have no part – ever!)
Life is wild and I bet it’s safe to say no one saw this multi-dimensional world evolving as it did which means none of could have foreseen the emotional and relational ramifications that would follow it. But that doesn’t matter does it? Regardless of what we see coming sometimes we’re still run over like a train (even if we later discover we called forth the train). Life isn’t just wild, it’s also tough.
As Easter Sunday is a few days away, I’ve spent the last weeks immersed in the songs I’ll be leading for our Easter services all weekend like this one and this one and this one. My heart is full. My heart is raw. My heart is deeply overwhelmed. My heart is lost for words and feelings as I try so very hard to relive this week as Jesus did. I want to know what my Savior did for me.
You know last week everyone loved him. If the social world existed, he’d have endless hashtags (many I’m sure I would have created) declaring his arrival into the city. I can see it now all kinds Twitter accounts would have been created for him. Instagram would have flooded the world with every angle of his arrival to the city. Pictures of palm trees with him faintly in the background, the crowds cheering, the city leaders all there, and close up pictures of his face, feet, hair, sand….”Just sipping coffee watching this dude Jesus ride into town with an amazing sunset in the background #vscogram #instagood #whydoeseveryonehavepalms #ohwaittheysaidheisgod #whatthewhat. And facebook? Oh the mom’s would have been ALL up on that announcement with their long, lengthy declarations of his arrival. EVERYONE LOVED HIM. They cheered for him in one voice. They celebrated his arrival.
Then something changed. We know what changed because we get an arial view of the week of events, but imagine being there. I imagine it was over dinner, in the farmer’s market, while at the park when the children played, in the work fields, and at the water well that the conversation began to shift. It wasn’t in the public forums the shift began to take place, it was in the quiet exchanges people made with each other they sowed the seeds necessary to unleash hell…
“Well you know what I heard…”
“He says HE is the SON of GOD”
“I hear they are going to…..”
“I think someone needs to say something”
That mindless chatter they were all making amongst friends…. thinking in the natural they were merely uttering words into the abyss when really behind the scenes they were stirring up the greatest historical event the world would ever witness. They were changing the scene one mindless sentence or casual statement they vomited on another unsuspecting soul. They were creating momentum and they didn’t even know it. So often I see online interactions (you know – since you can now see what everyone does and says to others without being deemed a stalker) that quickly escalate as the power of the online tongue is unleashed. People are quick to assume, quick to defend, quick to attack, quick to call out and slow to respond, slow to love, slow to show compassion and understanding, slow to let go of their emotions and seek truth first. Thank God there was no online world when Jesus came.
There was power in their behind the scenes chatter as they, probably without realizing it, were wrangling the army needed to crucify him. Jesus knew it. He felt it. He sensed it. He expected it. It was exactly what was suppose to happen to pave the way for Him to bear my sin, for him to pay for this mindless chatter, for him to assume a consequence I laid upon him. Oh, he knew it was coming. It terrified him. There was nothing empty, harmless, and mindless about creating negative momentum in that week. Life and death ARE in the power of the tongue. How often do we assume the chatter we brew up is harmless?
Tonight is Wednesday (depending on when you read this) and according to Passover week Jesus was silent this day. There isn’t any real historical proof of what occurred today, but the speculation is he rested with his disciples. Thursday was the Passover and Last Supper where he would break bread with the disciples for the last time on this Earth. Can you imagine the anxiety and stress felt this week? I have had some pretty stressful weeks and the Sunday before I can often sense a rising anxiousness because I know what’s to come is going to take a lot out of me….and that is just me doing normal life. It’s easy to forget Jesus was fully man. The load he carried that week had to be beyond comprehension. The bible is honest and clear the pressure upon him was immense and on Wednesday as the pressure builds he rested to prepare. Just days later he would find himself pleading for an option for this cup to pass over him, but even in his deepest prayer, he knew what was to come. As he sweat blood during his prayer, he still chose me over his own comfort. That this was His cross to bear. My sin was soon to be upon him. My freedom soon to be released.
I know in my own small world, the depth of pain and fear I’ve known is relative to my own life and family and close surroundings. While there have been days gripped by the hand of death, disease, addiction, fear, lies, anxiety, and depression, we all have a story. Death is in pursuit of us all. We’re all in a different part of our story, some of us in the full seasons with promises in hand, others holding steadfast to the goal ahead, and many grasping for hope to make it from day to day no promise in sight. Yet, the cross connects us all because Jesus changed the game for all of us this very week thousands of years ago.
He didn’t come to only save the worst of us.
He didn’t come only for the person who would win the “I have the hardest life award”.
He came for us all.
All I keep going back to this week is that he didn’t come for me have a nice house, car, or even dream job. He came so on my saddest night and in my darkest hour his presence could invade my heart like nothing else can and bring it peace.
He didn’t come for me to fill my days with pointless encounters. He came so that when I feel alone, when I am alone, I can call on Him and HE WILL BE THERE.
He didn’t come so the song of my heart would be about me. He came so that my life would be worship to him and so when I taste and see his goodness I would come alive. And being alive would be all my heart craved.
He didn’t come so that I would love every facet of my life. He came to be the lover of my soul.
He didn’t come for my bank account to overflow with money. He came so my heart would overflow LIFE and LIGHT onto the death and darkness surrounding it. He came so I would be the solution to the problem and the fight for those who need justice.
What an opportunity we have to look at the week from this perspective and see the entire story. From beginning to end, we get to relive the week with Jesus except we KNOW the ending. Just because we already know the ending, doesn’t mean we should take a minute to discover the details in the journey.
This week everything changed.
Our God, THE God, the ONLY God who was and is and will always be – he came to Earth and he grabbed you right on up and he breathed life into your dead heart so that it would COME ALIVE to experience His love for you, and so His passions would be your purpose.
I’m so glad Jesus didn’t give up or give in during the hardest week of his life. On this Wednesday night, I’m sure he wanted to. Oh, but he didn’t. He kept going. That’s how you can keep going. And on Thursday, when he spoke life, truth, and broke bread with his closest people – including the ones who would betray him in the most intimate of ways- oh, he loved them too. And that’s how we can keep loving. The next days as he would endure beatings, brokenness and death, he would take back the power of hell and death and sin. He would boldly approach the grave my soul was destined for – and he would tell death a final, “NO, she is no longer yours”. And that’s how we can fight for our freedom . Whether on this side of heaven or not, you have won the victory!
No matter where we find ourselves this week,
Our HOPE is found in His presence
Our COMFORT is found in His presence
Our JOY is found in His presence
Our PURPOSE is found in His presence
The power of Jesus isn’t released upon the arrival of a promise we are believing for, it was released when he defeated death and HIS PRESENCE became available to you and me.
So, this Easter seek out His presence. Forget the candy and family hangouts (although those are actually great) and seek out His presence as you wait, celebrate, or grasp for hope. Let him bring the dead in your heart to life again by filling your heart – every empty place, every crevice, and every crack with His life changing spirit. He did it once, he can do it again. In fact, the reason he did it once was so that YOU can actually call forth the dead to come alive. Call it forth!
Heaven invaded Earth in all its glory and brought us the life we so desperately needed, so that when suffering appears, so does his presence. This glorious resurrection we celebrate does’t remind me that life should be miraculously perfect, but that my HOPE, JOY, PEACE, & PURPOSE is no longer associated with my circumstance, and that when he died on that cross and the earth violently began to shake and the veil was torn in the temple…..it meant I get to walk right up to my Jesus now. No more boundaries, no more separation, no more interpretation, no more distance, His presence no longer needs to be contained, it could finally be RELEASED.
Thank you Jesus for being steadfast this week thousands of years ago. Thank you that somehow, some unfathomable way, I was worth the stress and anxiety you endured leading up to this ultimate sacrifice so I could not just be rescued but walk in authority, confidence, and favor in this life. I pray my life reflects the price you paid, the power you exemplified, and love you poured out.
If you’re looking for a place to find Jesus this weekend there will be churches all over the world celebrating this gift we’ve been given. If you’re a local and need a church, consider this your personal invitation, to Church of the King’s Easter Weekend, Hope Changes Everything – check out service times at our multiple campuses in the New Orleans, Mandeville, Gulfcoast region or you can even watch online here – http://churchoftheking.com/easter
If you are in another city, feel free to message me and I’ll help find you a place to visit this weekend. The Earth will undoubtedly be celebrating the greatest moment in history with one voice and shout this weekend. Unlike the chattering that led to death of the our Savior during Holy week, these will be the voices to unleash the Hope and Freedom you’ve been searching for! Jesus passionately loves you – come experience His love for you!
And here’s one of my latest favorite worship songs while we wait for the weekend celebrations to begin –