By Pastor Wes Poole
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. – NRSV
A 12 year old boy named David was born without an immune system. He underwent a bone marrow transplant in order to correct the deficiency. Up to that point he had spent his entire life in a plastic bubble in order to prevent exposure to common germs, bacteria, and viruses that could kill him. He lived without ever knowing human contact. When asked what he’d like to do if and when released from his protective bubble, he replied, “I want to walk barefoot on grass, and touch my mother’s hand.”
G.K. Chesterton once penned, “When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” As I sit here tapping away on a Tuesday in Holy Week, my head and my heart are fixed on gratitude. We have just returned to in-person worship on this past Palm Sunday. We will gather together on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday for the first time in 2 years, and for the very first time as pastor and congregation! Despite the dark road we must still walk with Jesus before we can celebrate the Empty Tomb, I just can’t muster the usual somber, Holy Week headspace. If COVID has taught us anything, it is that we should never take anything for granted. From hugs to handshakes to regular communion, we have had a yearlong lesson in just how many things can be taken from us in a relative instant. I pray that we can all find that spirit of gratitude and put it to work in the coming months as the world continues to open back up.
Of course, during this truly holy week, when we acknowledge once again what Christ’s sacrifice means to us, and how painful the road was that he took for our benefit, we embrace another sort of gratitude; that of a people who have been given so much by the God who cherishes them. Sure, we already know how the story “ends”…life and hope and resurrection joy, but experiencing Our Lord’s sacrifice with him makes the reality of the gift just that much sweeter. In Jesus Christ, God has claimed us once and for all. As we recall during this holy time the dark and difficult path Jesus walked for us, may we cultivate an even greater spirit of thankfulness and indeed awe at just how much Our God loves us in Jesus Christ. In the end, we are always an Easter People. Friday may look dark…but Sunday’s always coming! Thanks be to God!
Let us pray…
God of all Hope and Goodness, we pause during this Holy Week to ponder upon and give thanks for what you have done for us in Jesus Christ. As we take those steps with Jesus once again, through passion and pain to the foot of the cross and the wonder of an empty tomb, make us always ever more thankful to you, and appreciative of your lavish generosity. We ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Be well, be kind, and be safe. See you in church!!!!
Pastor Wes Poole †