Holy week – most significant time of year for Christians
- The week in which Jesus completed his mission on Earth
This past week we’ve witnessed many touching signs of support for our frontline health care workers – from people clapping, holding signs or putting messages in their windows to a parade of police cars, ambulances and fire trucks blaring their sirens in front of the hospital. We’re all amazed at the courage of people who are putting their lives on the line to care for the sick during this pandemic.
These days, we hear the word “hero” bandied around. It’s often used to describe someone we idolize, like a sports figure. A Professor of literature and mythology, Joseph Campbell, defined a hero as one who “… has given [or risked] his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” Campbell’s heroes included: A soldier who fights to stop a great evil and set others free. A woman who, in becoming a mother, risks her life to give life to another human being. Of course, that’s less heroic in Canada now than it was, but there are still too many places around the globe where women die in childbirth. However, every loving parent sacrifices a part of their life to meet their children’s needs. It also includes medical professionals who are placing themselves in harm’s way to care for and hopefully save the life of another person. And these days, anyone who is doing an essential service and comes in contact with the general public is also heroic.
It’s not only heroic to give or risk your life for a higher cause, it’s love in action. The night before Jesus died, he was speaking to his followers and students. He knew his death was imminent, and he was wanting to leave them with some last words to live by. One of the things he said was, “This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.” John 15: 13 – 14
Later that night, Jesus would do just that. He would be arrested, tried and sentenced to death by crucifixion. The charges were blasphemy and treason for claiming to be a king. But Jesus’ death was about something much larger; he was giving his life for a higher purpose. He died to defeat the powers of evil so humanity could be free from our servitude to it. He died to save his friends, not only his disciples, but everyone God loves, the whole world – each person for all time. Jesus’ death made it possible for us to become God’s friends. Christ’s death was heroic. He put his life on the line for you.
There’s a lot of speculation about how CoVid 19 might change people. I imagine that for those people whose lives are saved because a frontline worker risked their life for yours, there will be a feeling of endless gratitude and joy. You will likely esteem them. You may feel beholden to them, like you can never repay that person for what they did for you and that you can’t say thank you often or deeply enough. You’d likely feel bound to them for life. There may be a commitment to pay it forward. Just imagine that! Wouldn’t the world be a different place if we all were willing to lay down our lives for another?
Whether you’ve been sick with the Corona virus or not, someone has given his life for you. That someone is Jesus Christ. Jesus saved your life here and now, and for all eternity. How will that change you? What’s your response to him?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for loving this world enough to lay down your life for ours. Help us to be grateful. May we realize the depths of your sacrifice and live as your friends and followers. Amen.