Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. Matthew 26:74-75
27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. Matthew 27:27-31
How often do we mock our Jesus.... How often do we; we as Christians like Peter, deny our Jesus? Not outright in words....but in our lives...in forgetting Christ's sacrifice for us or at least compartmentalizing it until a Sunday in April (sometimes March). Do we put on our nice clothes each day and focus on our outer image the world sees rather than the state of our hearts...denying Him until convenient to use Him? Are we just like the guards, mocking Christ?
How much more painful is it when someone close to you says hurtful things about you, forgets your birthday, or turns their back on you compared to a single punch in the arm? I am sure our daily actions, denying Christ and in the same breath/action mocking Him, are equally more painful than the thorns on His head.... Our denial cheapens His sacrifice.
So let me begin with saying that I am only qualified to write this because I am the line leader of those denying Christ, standing on those nails with my stilettos. The challenge I will issue below is mine as well.
I am not Catholic. I was raised Southern Baptist. But since college, I have found special meaning in the season of Lent. I found that act of sacrifice to be one that is too often absent in my life. In college, I chose to give up an hour of sleep each morning to workout and do a Bible study. In med school, I gave up soda during the lent season. Last year, while we waited to pass court and become Tedi's parents, we decided to fast 24 hours straight, from dinner on Tuesdays to dinner on Wednesdays, only having liquids and gum. I did not talk about this because I feel that it was best kept private at the time. However, it was a lesson in sacrifice, a way to re-focus. I must say, during those five months of difficult waiting, fasting forced me to draw close to Christ. I can say honestly that I was never closer to the Cross and It's sacrifice. I am not there now....
How do I....How do we..... crawl closer to the foot of the cross? Thought I am not Catholic, I find the sacrifice of lent to be one that all Christians should participiate in....Because everytime you stop and say "no, I am giving this up", you are reminded WHY you are doing so... No matter how small or seemingly insignificant the sacrifice, you will remember.
What am I doing.... starting tomorrow?
1) No more soda..... this does not consume my life or affect my closeness to the Cross, but having done this before, I know that the reminder is needed...especially now on an overnight shift on call or in the ER when the temptation is great...I will remember. (though I am guzzling my last coke zero as I type)
2) One lunch per week....though not at the level of a full fast, one lunch devoted to prayer or serving others rather than food is a reminder... the pang will be there..
3) Encouragement to others: I would like to sacrifice $0.41 (I think that is the cost of a stamp) each week to send a card to others offering them encouragement.
Though I like even numbers, I think three things are both attainable and yet a good jumping off point. So I ask you, what will you do? What will you sacrifice? What are you going to sacrifice? Once you decide, whether you comment or not (which the latter is most likely), I encourage you to share with someone.... someone to hold you accountable and someone to encourage you and pray for you and with you. (didn't Jessu take His friends with Him to Gethsemane to pray with Him/for Him knowing of the sacrifice He was on the brink of making....just a thought)
Are you going "lent"? What will you sacrifice to remind you of the Great Sacrifice?