Holy Week Word Play

One of the cheapest forms of entertainment for me happens to be something the pleasure of which I inherited from my dad. I like to play with words!

Honestly, I’m not a huge word nerd, but what I do enjoy is tweaking combinations of expressions and thoughts, or mixing similar sounding words that end up bringing a smile to my face and groans (of joy) to others. I like to juxtapose things that others might not think of.

OK, I admit, I had to look up the spelling and meaning of “juxtapose” juxta minute ago! You’re getting the picture… I hope! “Juxta” is Latin for “beside,” and so “juxtapose” means “to place alongside of for the purpose of comparison or contrast.”

Thinking about this upcoming Holy Week weekend, I can’t help but shake my head at the crazy juxtaposition of events that are flowing together to vie for our focus. We’ve got the profound mixed with the profane (Easter Sunday and April Fool’s Day), and the climactic events of our faith intertwined with college basketball’s biggest weekend! We’ve got the Final Countdown in Jerusalem and the Final Four in San Antonio calling for our attention!

A lot is at stake in each of the arenas of faith and sports.

Could it be, I wonder, that there’s more similarity to be found here than at first glance? Words like “sacrifice” and “unselfishness” are being bantered around in both worlds, and nobody makes it to the Final Four weekend without hard work and painful effort.

My goal in the next several days is not only to enjoy the games, but even more, to savor the sacrifice of Jesus my Savior and to open my heart and respond appropriately to the outpouring of his love.

I recently read of the brave and heroic French policeman who died while attempting to trade places with a woman hostage when a terrorist attacked a supermarket in Trebes last week. Referring to officer Arnaud Beltrame’s courageous act, France’s Minister of the Interior said, “France will never forget his heroism, his bravery, his sacrifice.” Beltrame is being honored because he gave his life for the freedom of the hostages.

Perhaps you, too, would step forward to help someone you love.

Bobbie and I have been recently burdened with the news of her sister, Beth’s, recurring leukemia, for which the only solution now is evidently getting a bone marrow transplant. The other day, without hesitation, Bobbie sent in the test kit and ended up being a perfect match! That means that we’re trying to figure out how to squeeze in a week and a half trip to Puebla, Mexico (where Beth and Chalo live and serve as missionaries) in the next month so Bobbie can make this life-saving donation! I am so proud of her courage and willingness to do something sacrificial.

This all reminds me of Jesus who, with a heart full of love, willingly bled and died to save not just his friends, but his enemies!

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)

I was helpless and weak, an enemy of God, and Jesus showed God’s incredible love by laying his life down to pay for my sins so that I could be reconciled to God and live with him as his beloved child forever!

For that sacrifice and for that incredible victory of death three days later, I am completely indebted to my Savior and King.

I’m so grateful to belong to his family now and look forward to celebrating with him for eternity.  In the meantime, I’ll raise my hands and offer my heart to the true hero of the ages until I see him face to face, lifting the ultimate trophy of final redemption! 

See you Easter Sunday!
Pastor Steve