Here we go. It’s that time of year. We’ve been going through Lent for almost 7 weeks and that means that HOLY WEEK is almost here. As soon as I mention the coming of Holy Week (more traditionally known as Pascha Week), there are two responses that might come forth
a) (church people) YES! It’s Holy Week. Services every day. More prayers, more hymns, more readings…MORE CHURCH! YES!!!
b) (non-church people) Oh no! It’s Holy Week. Services every day. More prayers, more hymns, more readings…MORE CHURCH! NO!!!
Same event, completely different responses. Why is that? Why do some people approach Holy Week like a kid on Christmas, while others approach it like a turkey on Thanksgiving? How can that be? How can they be talking about the same thing?
You know, for the longest time (public confession here), I actually fell on the side with the non-church people. I HATED HOLY WEEK!
I mean, come on, who enjoys standing up for 6 hours at church on a Sunday instead of the usual 2? Who enjoys doubling the legal capacity of a church building and seeing if it’s possible to fit one more overweight man into this pew? How can anyone look forward to a day (Good Friday) where we Orthodox Christians arrive at 8 am and stay till 5 pm? That’s child abuse isn’t it?
I used to think so. But then something changed. Even though I lived most of my life agreeing with the non-church people, at one point I made a switch over to the other side. I went from hating Holy Week and dreading its arrival, to absolutely loving it and looking forward to it every year. How? What changed? Did the service change? Did the prayers change? Did all the overweight men in the pew suddenly lose weight or decide not to squeeze in my pew???
Nope, nope and nope. None of those things changed. In fact, nothing changed at all – nothing on the outside that is. But something changed on the inside. And once that inside thing changed, everything else seemed to change as well. That is...
Yep, your attitude. Your attitude has the ability to turn just about anything into the “worst thing ever” or the “highlight of my day.” Trust me. It isn’t the things on the outside that are out of your control that stop you from enjoying Holy Week; it’s something within you can certainly affect.
So how do you change your attitude? BY FINDING VALUE. When we see value in something, our attitude is good. When we see no value in something, our attitude is bad. Simple as that.
For example, take another important day in this country – one that I’ve never fully understood or seen any value in – BLACK FRIDAY, the day after Thanksgiving. Forgive me for offending anyone here but I never understood Black Friday. To me, it’s the day that sensible, rational, intelligent people lose their minds for a brief 24 hour period – all in the name of finding a good deal.
As you can tell, I don’t see much value in Black Friday. Spending hours out in the freezing cold outside a Walmart to save $6 on a new Foreman Grill doesn’t really do it for me. I’ve never gone shopping on Black Friday and I never will. I simply don’t get it and I see very little value in the entire thing.
But clearly, many others disagree. Others look at the same day and see TREMENDOUS value in it – so much value that they’re willing to do things that I would classify as insane just to obtain something that they deem valuable.
In other words, I don’t see any value in Black Friday so I stay home. Others see tremendous value in it so they stand outside like crazy people all night long.
Back to Holy Week now – if you are dreading its arrival, then you probably don’t see much value in it (or at least, you’re not focusing on that value). But if I told you I’d give you $1 million if you attend every church service during Holy Week, would that change your mind?
Of course it would! Believing that I will receive $1 million would make it a little easier to get out of bed in the morning or leave work a few minutes early or forego a few hours of TV at night. It’s certainly worth it for $1 million, right?
Well, I got news for you, there’s no $1 million at the end of Holy Week, but there is something. And that something has a much much greater value than even $1 million. Why? Because if I give you a $1 million today and you get hit by a bus in the street tomorrow, that $1 million is gone and that’s it. It’s finite.
But what you will find during Holy Week is not infinite; it is ETERNAL! It's something that will last even if you get hit by a bus or lose your job or find out your son has cancer. Once you've obtained it, no one can take it away from you.
What is it? That I can’t tell you. All I can do is INVITE YOU.
I invite you as Jesus invited His first disciples to “come and see.” Come and see what all the hype is all about. Come and see why people go to church every single day – and twice a day at that! Come and see what could possibly be going on during a Good Friday service from 8 am till 5 pm. Come and see.
You wouldn’t miss out on a chance for a $1 million would you? Trust me, that $1 million isn’t even close to what you’ll find here. Don’t believe me?
Come and see.