Sunday, April 17, 2011
The week of our Lord's Passion began today, Palm Sunday, and we joined in praising Him with the crowds chanting, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the Highest!" On most Palm Sundays, I get emotional. In the Orthodox Church, we believe that all feasts, such as Palm Sunday and the events of Holy Week, for example, are not just annual remembrances of the events of that day– they are, instead, by the grace and condescension of God, a true participation in the event itself. The liturgical and spiritual reality of holy events are a gift from God – a condescension to us – not unlike the condescension of His incarnation. God gives Himself to us in our worship of Him. It is pretty mind boggling. Maybe that is why I get emotional, because I close my eyes and I see Him right in front of me, smiling at the praises of His people but also inwardly saddened at the denial he would face by these same people- by me...
What can I do to ensure that I please Him and truly live a life that glorifies Him, just as my verbal praises proclaim? If I allow Him to do as He pleases with my life. If I see Him as my creator and my redeemer and realize that my entire purpose in this life on earth is for Him- not for me. If I volunteer and say, "Take me! Take me to be your donkey!". Without the donkey, Christ wouldn't have been able to ride into Jerusalem and carry out our salvation. The donkey is the least of all animals, but Christ chose it for His good purpose. If He chose a donkey, don't you think He could choose us if we humble ourselves and allow Him to use our life for His glory...even if it means being like a donkey?
This was the message of today's sermon, and a message that God has been ingraining in my heart this entire Lent. Humility. And humility does not mean, like we so often think, thinking horrible thoughts of ourselves and how horrible we are. Humility means having a true assessment of who I am and who God is. Humility is the realization that we can do NOTHING without His help. This realization should draw us into prayer throughout the day, not out of obligation but out of complete desperation knowing that without this time of supplication before God, nothing fruitful or successful will come out of our day.
I have been so humbled as a mother, especially recently, realizing that whatever "perfect" plan I put in place or however hard I try, I am a mess on my own. No matter how many pep talks I give myself..."I won't lose my temper, I won't yell, I won't be upset"...I find myself falling day after day. I was convicted of my pride in thinking I'm just a "strong" woman, who can "handle it".
I desperately need a Savior.
And can it be that He needs me too? For so long, I have tried to be good enough for Him to use. But this week, He is telling me that I will never be good enough, and until I reach the point where I can admit that, He can't use me in the ways I want. The Holy Spirit is given to us in proportion to our humility. I can go through my life thinking that I can do things on my own; that if I read up enough on the best parenting techniques, I would be the best mom...if I read tons of spiritual books, I would become spiritual...if I served until the point of exhaustion, my service would somehow be more acceptable. No. I can do nothing at ALL WITHOUT HIM. Admitting this will give Him the invitation to come in and use me to glorify Him and bring more people to His Kingdom...just like the donkey...