Vacation. Vacation cross country. Vacation cross country in a car… with children…in August. Did your emotions change as this sentence grew? Everyone likes the idea of vacation, but driving cross country in a car with children in the heat of summer is almost comedic material for a description of suffering rather than something enjoyable. Why? Well, picture it, you get up early in the morning, with the car loaded up the night before. You have your thermos full of coffee, your road map brightly highlighting (digitally or otherwise) the route of your quest for adventure and excitement. You lock up the house and drive away, leaving your cares and worries behind you.
How long does it last? Hours? Minutes? Seconds? Your quiet reverie is soon shattered. It starts small: “I forgot my pillow” or “Are we there yet?” Soon enough it escalates to “I’m thirsty” followed instantaneously by “I have to go to the bathroom”. Before long cries of “She touched me” and “Stop looking at me” are followed by hurtling books, toys, and empty mini Pringle cans bouncing around the inside of the vehicle and off the heads of passengers. Then comes the dreaded phrase in every such family vacation…”Do I need to pull over?”
In John 12:1-8, Jesus is nearing the end of his journey on earth. It’s Saturday night and on Sunday he’ll make what is called the “Triumphal Entry” and what we celebrate as Palm Sunday. He’s with his closest followers at a private dinner before starting the week that will include betrayal by one of his own, torture by the Romans, desertion of his friends, and death on a cross. Instead of an evening of intimacy and quiet contemplation with Jesus, the disciples are, you guessed it… bickering, criticizing, and even being downright selfish. Only one of his followers got it right. Just one. And she was focused on Jesus alone. On Sunday we’ll look at the motivation, method, and the means of her worship that signaled her deep maturity and insight.
Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34,35. The authenticity of our faith is demonstrated to the world, not just by our love for God, but by how we treat one another in the church.
Last summer we drove almost 5,000 miles in a minivan with seven people on a family vacation without fighting, bickering, or having to “pull over”. The secret? While it’s true that I speak from personal experience on the issues above, our kids are all adults now! Maybe it’s time for us to grow up in the church and put the focus where it needs to be… on Jesus!
P.S. There’s just one more week to invite people to Easter services and Alpha classes. Pick your invitation cards in the foyer!
P.P.S. Don’t forget about the prayer Gathering on Sunday night at 6 pm in the Campus Center.