Every year a church in our area provides a walk-through “Passion Week Experience,” Wednesday through Friday of Holy Week. It has become a regular part of my personal preparation for Resurrection Sunday.
Using black curtains, they separate their darkened auditorium into several sections–each one representing a scene of Christ’s passion. It begins with a hand washing station, then the Lord’s Supper, a station with thirty silver coins, and several others. One of the last stations is a table with burning incense, samples of the costly oils and spices used to embalm Jesus, and strips of linen.
Over the years, this has become my favorite. The incense permeates my clothes and my hair. My hands absorb the oils. I carry those with me throughout the day–a constant reminder of Christ’s death. Whether running errands or cleaning the kitchen, I catch their fragrance … and remember.
This weekend our family is away from home at a quaint little lake house some friends share with us. It’s tucked away in the corner of a large piece of ranch property. Sitting in front of our fire, night is closing in. But the fragrance of my morning lingers.
In the stillness, the Lord brought this to mind …
We always carry around the death of Jesus in our bodies so that the life of Jesus is also shown in our bodies. While we are alive, we are constantly handed over to death for Jesus’ sake so that the life of Jesus is also shown in our mortal nature. Death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. (2 Corinthians 4:10-12 GW)
Paul was referring to the continual suffering he faced for the sake of Christ–almost to the point of death. But he endured, and Christ was glorified. Because of his suffering, others came to know Christ.
Regardless of the intensity of our suffering, when we are faithful to Christ, others see and glorify our Father who is in heaven. But I’m thinking specifically of those who are enduring agonizing suffering this Easter week … a dear friend with cancer, the Kenyan Christians who were massacred a few days ago, and the families of those grieving in the midst of this.
Christ suffered greatly for us. We will, too. If we haven’t yet, our time is coming. In the meantime, we remember–and pray!
I think we remember things best when they are attached to our physical senses. Tasting bitter herbs; pricking a finger with a long, sharp thorn; hearing haunting music that fills the air, all surrounded by a cloak of darkness.
I left all of those there. But the fragrance stays with me, reminding me of the horrible suffering my Savior endured to purchase my freedom from the penalty of my sin.
He did it for you, too. Do you know Him? He loves you deeply and wants a relationship with you. Get to know Jesus here. It will bring new meaning to your Easter!