Belief is a strong part of our life. It is something that we come to. It is something that helps us understand the many facets of living our life. The Webster’s Dictionary informs us that belief is: “A mental act, condition, or habit, of placing trust or confidence in a person or thing.” It also goes on to inform us that belief is: “Mental acceptance of conviction, in the truth or actuality of something.” You know something believed or accepted as true.
Belief is learned through our experience of life. We come to things that seem to be true to us and then we test them against other truths we have learned or been taught in life. Some of these truths come quite easy and painlessly like the favorite tastes of deserts and candy. As we taste them we find which sweets taste best to us and become what we believe for ourselves and what we try to persuade others to have them taste and agree with us.
Now there are other truths we can believe together like when I was a child at my grandparent’s house, I was told that the wood stove was hot and not to touch it because I would be burned. Have you ever had someone tell you something and want to test their theory? Well I don’t have to tell you that not touching the hot wood stove was a truth that I should not have tested. It was a cold day and the stove was so warm and inviting. I just had to get as close to it as possible to get warm. I soon realized what everyone had told me; do not to touch the wood stove! The truth was when I burned my fingers on the wood stove by touching it. OUCH! It became real to me at that moment. At that moment I wished that I had put my trust in the words my grandparents had taught me. Reflecting on that time helps me to know that I can trust what I am told by those who know what they have experienced or learned about.
Reflection may be the best word for us to think about as we move toward Lent, to Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter. As we do a spiritual check up on our soul it is good to reflect on the grace of God and our own practice of the grace of God with others as we interact with them. After all Lent is a time of preparation for celebrating Easter. The first Sunday of Lent describes Jesus’ temptation by Satan and the sixth Sunday (Passion Palm Sunday), Christ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and his passion and death. So it is good for us to realize that the penitential spirit of Lent should be tempered with joyful expectation of the Resurrection. Let’s not forget “The Great Three Days” that is sometimes called the Triduum Pasch; which is from sunset Holy Thursday through sunset Easter day and is the climax of Lent (and the whole Christian year) and a bridge into the Easter Season. These days proclaim the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ’s work of redemption accomplished principally by his Passion, death, resurrection, and glorious ascension, whereby “dying he destroyed our death, and rising he restored our life” During these days, we journey with Jesus from the upper room, to the cross, to the tomb, and to the garden. We are to look at this as a unified service beginning with a service of Holy communion on Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday), and concluding with Services Easter Sunday.
We sometimes forget that we are Easter people and that every Sunday is a celebration of Easter for us and the world. Maybe it is that we forget this because we look past the pain and commitment of Christ and God’s grace to bring this celebration about. Christ must have known that the celebration of Palm Sunday; the shouts of “Hosanna” would give way to the cry “Crucify,” of Good Friday. Christ was familiar with the temptation to follow the path of political correctness and the easiest way out. Christ knew the shouts of jubilation would change from “Hosanna” to “Crucify” because he was fully divine and could see clearly his journey of incarnation was near the end. Christ could see the upcoming public humiliation and execution were inevitable. Christ’s desire to be faithful was awesomely strong because of the confidence and ultimate trust in God whom he had and intimate relationship with as Abba Father. Christ’s focus was to rely on God and God’s will as he moved forward, propelled and sustained by his deep faith in God’s goodness and love.
Palm Sunday and Holy week invites us to search deep within our own souls for the answers only we can answer about our faith and trust in God. This is also a time that invites us to reflect on our own route for today and tomorrow. We as Christians have to ask ourselves can we move forward in obedience and faithfulness. Can we place our ultimate trust in God who has been made known to us in Jesus Christ? Can we exclaim as John Wesley “I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and he saved me from the law of my sin and death.” As we reflect on this Holy season may the peace and confidence of Jesus be ours as we place our ultimate trust in Abba Father our God.
In the peace, love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ