“Then he went a short distance farther and fell on his face and prayed, ‘My Father, if it’s possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. However—not what I want but what you want.’”
—Matthew 26:39 (CEB)
While the disciples slept, Jesus, Servant of All, prayed to God about what he was hours from experiencing on behalf of others—death and temporary separation from God. In his humanity, Jesus became anxious and asked for the cup to be taken away, but he followed that request by acknowledging God’s will, which enabled him to remain steadfast and fulfill his purpose.
During the holiest of times, we, as church leaders, shift into overdrive to ensure that Holy Week is meaningful for others. This often means that we are less intentional about claiming the meaningfulness of the week for ourselves. In our humanity and our diligence to the details, we can easily become overwhelmed, too, and request for our cup to be taken away. But why?
Fill your cup
To be a cupbearer, a server at the royal table, was an honor. Both Jesus and Nehemiah illustrated for us that great sacrifice yields great reward. Just as you have been called to serve at the table so that others may encounter the Lord, it is important to remember that you are also called to encounter the Lord at that same table. Finding spiritual fulfillment during Holy Week is another way that you can answer your callings by serving both yourself and your beloved congregation.
Ten ways to find spiritual fulfillment during Holy Week
- Remember that the Lord is in charge. Remind yourself often
- Let the story of this week tell itself. Allow God’s word to live and breathe without smothering it with complexity. There can be grace in simplicity.
- Allow God’s grace to abound. The Lord is not looking for perfection, the Lord is looking for faithfulness.
- Look for God to show forth in the challenging moments. Follow God’s will and the rest will follw.
- Reflect on your calling. Consider how your service during Holy Week is a faithful response.
- Acknowledge that ministry is something that you “get to do.” You’re helping to make God real to others. What greater joy is there?
- Allow the joy of the Lord to be your strength. In the same way that it was for Nehemiah.
- Pause and pray. Then pick up where you left off.
- Find ways to laugh! Where there is a will, there’s always a way. Fun should be a part of church even (maybe especially) during busy seasons.
- Remember frequently that vacation cometh! As it does every year.
May you receive a cupful of grace, mercy, love, and hope that will maintain you through Pentecost, and all to come.