If your life is like mine, the Easter season is very busy. Our days are consumed by an all-hands-on-deck time of planning special worship services and additional outreach efforts. You stack this on top of the probable heavy load of family responsibilities, counseling needs, leadership issues and other burdens that are typical for pastors. This is Superbowl week for churches, and we want to make the most of our opportunity. I don’t know of any pastor that is spending this week melting into the sofa watching lacrosse on ESPN12, playing Angry Birds and downing multiple bags of 1st Degree Burn Blazin Jalapeno Flavored Doritos.
As busy as we are, we need to remember, especially at Easter, that we have a holy calling for which we need holy preparation. It is easy to devote more energy to preparing song lists and sermon slides than we devote to preparing our souls. But before we can pour ourselves out in service, we must fill ourselves up with the love of God.
I find a good reminder of both our call and our preparation in the short letter of Jude.
The pastors’ call (what a daunting task!): “have mercy on those who doubt, save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy w/ fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh” (Jude vs22-23).
The pastors’ preparation (what a blessed provision!): “build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude vs20-21).
We need both. To enjoy the benefits of holy preparation w/out faithfulness to your holy calling is selfishness. To attempt your holy calling without holy preparation is foolishness. You cannot have one without the other.
So, I’m preparing my soul for Easter. In the hurried days, I’m trying to be still at different times throughout the day to preach to myself, or just to let the beauty of Jesus death and resurrection sink a little deeper into my heart. And I’m trying to find one elongated time of silence and prayer so that I can feel the pain of the bloody cross and experience the joy of the empty tomb.
As I walk into the greatest event of the year, here is my prayer: may I feel the passion and weight of holy calling more fully than ever before, and may I experience the blessing and encouragement of holy preparation more deeply than I imagined possible. I need both.
Pastor, do you feel like you get lost in all the planning for Easter? What do you do to help nourish your soul in this season?