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An Invitation to Abide in the Middle of Holy Week’s “Holy Busyness”

April 4, 2012

Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take words with you and return to the Lord; say to him, “Take away all guilt; accept that which is good, and we will offer the fruit of our lips. Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses; we will say no more, ‘Our God’, to the work of our hands. In you the orphan finds mercy.” I will heal their disloyalty; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. I will be like the dew toIsrael; he shall blossom like the lily, he shall strike root like the forests of Lebanon. His shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive tree, and his fragrance like that of Lebanon. They shall again live beneath my shadow, they shall flourish as a garden; they shall blossom like the vine, their fragrance shall be like the wine of Lebanon. O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like an evergreen cypress; your faithfulness comes from me.
(Hosea 14:1-8)

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. My Father will love you, and we will come to you and make our home with you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
(John 15:1, 4-5, 9; 14:18-20, 23, 27)

As I reflect on these two above readings for Monday in Holy Week this year, I am struck by how they are saying very much the same thing. They both talk about relationship with God, connection to God, and being renewed by the life of God within us. It also strikes me as how wonderfully appropriate they are for Holy Week, when we (especially we clergy!) can be in danger of a “holy busyness” that can be the antithesis of genuine spirituality. These passages remind me that the Good News is not: “Try harder! Do more.” It is, rather: “God loves you, and you can abide in God and God’s love, now and forever.” It is an invitation to live not so much for our Lord Jesus as with, in, and through him.

If you’re looking for an indicator to help you see the degree to which you are living out this call, you can do no better than Jesus’ promise in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” How is your peace? If your honest answer is, “Not so good!” you may find it helpful to take some time right now to meditate on the above passages from Holy Scripture, or watch the embedded videos below. In the midst of the busyness of our lives, even the “holy busyness” of Holy Week, I pray that all of us may experience Our Lord’s own peace – peace which the world cannot give – that comes from abiding in him, and having his life abiding within.

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