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On the Journey...
Monthly Insight From Pastor Phil Yoder
“Your Last Days”
If you knew for certain that you had only one week to live, and then you would die, what would you do? Make a quick trip to one of those places you always wanted to visit, but never found the time to go? Load up on your favorite food? Go on a diet? Probably not that! Go to work, work overtime, just one more time? Probably not that either! Go shopping and buy that trinket you had your eye on for several years? Contribute to your favorite charity? Make confessions? Spill secrets? Spend the week with those you love, your family, and friends?
That’s what I would do. I think I would have an open house, all week long, and invite all my friends and those who have been in my life to come, and thank them for being a part of my life, and for the joy they gave to me for my journey on this earth. We would reminisce and tell stories, lots of stories. Stories just somehow capture the heart, and often the imagination with it. We would talk about important things too, about what has real value in this world and about being prepared for eternity. In the end, it is our relationships and not our accumulation of things that matter and give life its meaning, and that gives us joy in living.
Of course, none of us knows when our last day on the earth will be. That is a matter we leave in God’s hands, and we are quite contented to leave it there.
Jesus knew when His life on this earth would end, and he knew how it would end. And the journey to that final day was not an easy one, not even for Jesus. But it is of great interest to note what Jesus did with that last week of His life. And it is just as interesting to note what Jesus did not do! This year during Lent, we are exploring what Jesus chose to do on each of the last days of that last week before His death. Exploring what Jesus did with those last days is a clue as to what was really important to Jesus. And just maybe, it will provide us with a clue as to what should be important to us as well.
That last week is so important in understanding Jesus, who He is, His mission on earth, and His priorities. It is filled with activities, teachings, sermons, parables, and of course His death and resurrection. It is where we get our instructions for communion. But what stands out in that last week, and this almost gets lost in all the activities of the week, is how much time Jesus spent with those He loved and with those who loved Him. After all the hatred and abuse Jesus suffered all week long, every evening, Jesus retreated to be with His friends, those who loved Him and cared about Him. I know that Jesus drew great strength from His relationship with His Heavenly Father, but it appears as though Jesus also found much courage and strength from the relationships that He had with those who loved Him on this earth and wanted to be with Him, those who were not ashamed of Him, nor feared what may happen to them for their association with Him.
And it makes me wonder something. Does Jesus still draw strength today from those who dearly love Him, who are not ashamed of Him, who long to be with Him, and get excited when they get to spend time in His presence, as He ministers today, and prepares for the great work that He has yet in front of Him?
Written by Phil Yoder