distractionsIt is Good Friday morning … an early start to a long day … but it will be a good day.  And yet … as I was doing my daily devotional time … and other reading … I wondered … what has people so distracted?

Last Sunday we began Holy Week with our Palm Sunday celebration… last night was Maundy Thursday.  This evening we will enter into darkness with the 7 last words of Jesus … and on Sunday we will celebrate His triumphant victory over death … and yet I wondered … what has people so distracted?

Distractions … yes … there are plenty …all wily schemes of Satan to draw our attention away from what is truly important.

Some of these seem so simple and so “harmless” … like nice spring weather … and school breaks (which we used to call Easter vacation) … NCAA basketball and its bracket challenges … the Easter bunny … etc.

Some are “less harmless” … North Korea threatening to send rockets at American cities (even Austin, TX) … time to file IRS forms … a challenge to what constitutes marriage … the current ineptitude of the leadership of our country … the economy … etc.

Even as a pastor … distractions get to me.  Each day as I struggle to prepare messages of comfort and hope … I am tempted to forget what this week is all about.

I get “cranky” at people who are not in worship instead of rejoicing at those who are here … I get “righteous indignation” at those who have succumbed to a secular worldview that is totally inconsistent with a biblical worldview … I find myself judging who is only a “fan” or Jesus and not a true “follower” …

Well played Satan …

Often times we think he uses savage and brutal attacks (and he does) … but it is often just the “simple things” of life that draw us away from what it truly important …

But then I was drawn back to some words I will share tonight at our Service of Darkness … Good Friday … and it brings me back to where I belong …

The first recorded words of Jesus were when He was found in the temple & says to His parents, “Don’t you know that I had to be about my father’s business?”  Now that business is finished & He can say “into Your hands I commend my spirit.”

These are the last words of Jesus.  There were no curses from His mouth.  No loathing contempt, no self-righteous condescension, no bitter resignation.  Instead, He ends His life with a prayer of faith, the same prayer that Jewish mothers taught their children to say at bedtime every night.

It’s a fitting end to an extraordinary life.  He was betrayed into the hands of sinners, but always in control of His life & it is only at this moment, when everything is accomplished, that He chooses to give His life back to His Father.  That allows God to restore Christ’s spirit in the days to come.

To whom does our life belong?  We don’t have to wait until our dying breath to commend our spirit to God.  We can choose, this very day, in the shadow of the cross, to give our life to God for His use.  God wants to restore us, as well.  Will we let Christ’s death on the cross go unnoticed in our life, or will we choose to put our life in God’s hands?

Loving God, thank You for opening Your arms to receive us.  We commend ourselves to you this day and every day, as we accept the gift of life given by Your son, Jesus Christ.