Impending Doom – Maundy Thursday
Welcome to Living Contentment Weekly. Here are your three contentment-related thoughts for today. Something for you to: read | do | pray
Church traditions that follow a more liturgical calender recognize today as Maundy Thursday (not “Monday Thursday” as I thought until I was way too old to admit). The day we commemorate that Passover Meal Jesus shared with his disciples. The Last Supper.
The meal where he announced he would be betrayed. The one just before Peter denied even knowing him. Just before his own turn him over. The one before his own people turned him over to the Roman occupying force for public execution.
The days that lead up to Easter are hard for us to read in many ways. It’s hard for us to put ourselves in the disciples’ place, as we have the benefit of knowing how Easter Sunday turns out. We understand the whole ‘suffering servant IS the Reigning King’ in a way that the paradox would have been almost incomprehensible to a first century Jew.
I almost never use Jesus himself as an example of a contented life – because in someways it seems too easy, and too hard. It’s too easy of an example to hold up as he was perfectly content at all times (if we assume not being content is a sinful state that comes from a lack of trust) It’s too hard in other ways because saying “act like the diving, perfect, incarnate God” feels overwhelming.
But the stories that emerge here in Holy Week – at least for me – make Jesus feel at leat more approachable. More relatable. He’s betrayed by those he trusted. He’s double-crossed by those he’s helped. He’s misunderstood. It seems like he really is trying to get his followers to understand something they just can’t.
And then there is the events later that evening in Garden where he is so traumatically stressed that he sweats blood. Where he begs his Heavenly Father to see if there is some other, less painful way forward. But there isn’t, so he accepts things, and bravely moves on.
I think he is able to move forward with confidence – because of his faith and trust in His Father. He KNOWS that what God has planned is the best way forward. That attidude is what truly gives contentment. You can be content with your current circumstances if you believe that they are what God has allowed to happen. That God has his reasons- even if we don’t konw them or understand them.
“Not my will but your will be done.”
Really what stronger statement of contentment can be made? Being willing to follow God – even when it seems hard – because you have confidence in his goodness, and his power.
Jesus here at the end of Holy Week is about to face the most cruel, unwarranted, violent torturous death. And he knows it. Yet his faith in his Father allows him to say “not my will….but your’s”
May that be our prayer – our cry – when we are in times of distress as well.
What problem is currently facing you – that feels almost unsurmountable?
Can you pray – with honesty and sincerity – “God – I don’l like this, I don’t understand it. But if this is your will….may it be so.”
God of power,
God of goodness,
God of Love.
You said you are in control,
and you tell me you are good.
But I don’t always feel it.
I can’t always believe it.
Yet Lord, I do believe,
help my unbelief.
In those things right now that I just can’t face,
I give them over to you.
Not my will, but yours be done.
Talk to you next Thursday!