By Monica Swoboda
Today is Palm Sunday and the last week of the Lenten season. In today’s Small Surrenders writing, Emilie Griffin says “During the last week of Lent, we focus on the constancy of Jesus. We know that Jesus has prepared himself by a time of trial in the wilderness. We know that he must endure a still greater trial. In this week that we call Holy Week, we relive the last week of Jesus’ life: his entrance into Jerusalem, his Passover meal, his arrest, interrogation, suffering and death.
Jesus knew these things were going to happen to him during those last few days of his life. And yet he kept on walking through Jerusalem; the path God had laid out for him. We will likely never know what it feels like to be arrested, interrogated, suffer physically and emotionally the way he did and die a brutal death on the cross. What does it mean, then, to “relive the last week of Jesus’ life?”
This Lent season has been personally difficult, but not in the way I expected. I assumed that my very small sacrifice would simply lead me to a greater appreciation of Jesus’ very large sacrifice. I thought the difficult part would be denying my flesh. I do believe I have grown in gratefulness, but not in the sweet, blissful way I imagined.
I have been asking God to change me for two decades. I have repeatedly invited him to do what he needs to do in me, no matter what it takes, and no matter how much I beg him not to. He is faithful to answer these prayers. The longer I walk the path God has given me, the more challenging life seems to get. It has been a terrible morning at my house so I may be writing from a place of anger and frustration, but I think we can all agree that life is hard. I think that my Lenten journey is turning out to be a season of deeper realization that he is all I need, and all I can really rely on. Pruning hurts.
I will never be able to relate to or relive Jesus’ last days. My life is too easy, too comfortable. But I can work on embracing his constancy and I can keep on walking. One of the few things we can count on in this life is that he will walk the path with us. Maybe that needs to be enough for me this week. He kept on walking and so will I.