Not humanly possible

March 29, 2021 | Val Lindenschmidt

Editor's Note: This year’s Lenten Devotional from Presbyterians Today invites us to reflect upon the gift of Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace:
“In the Bible, shalom can be translated not only as peace, but also as tranquility, security, well-being, health, welfare, completeness, and safety.” The writer goes on to encourage, “How can we each receive this gift of shalom and, in turn, bestow it upon the world?”
On this journey, we’ve come through 33 days and 5 Sundays since Ash Wednesday, when we reflected on “we are dust and to dust we shall return.” Now we arrive at Holy Week beginning with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, his death on a cross, and the joy of his resurrection. This process reminds us that in Christ, God was reconciling the world.
In the aforementioned devotional, Ivy Lopedito, Christian Brooks, and Donna Frischknecht Jackson highlight one way forward:
“As we journey through Holy Week, think of hurts, grudges, and hatred that need to be nailed to the cross and laid to rest in a tomb. Think about the healing power of reconciliation and where you have seen it in your life.”
Join us this week as we consider all these things and seek God’s presence on our journey.


About the author: Val Lindenschmidt has attended ZPC for 20+ years. She has served as an Elder, on Mission Commission, with the Great Banquet, and worships with small groups. She and her husband John consider their faith friends one of their greatest blessings.

Today's scripture: Romans 12:8

Holy week is always a special week for me. Besides the excitement of knowing the week ends with, “He is Risen!” there is the succession of holy days leading to Easter morning. After Palm Sunday is Maundy Thursday AND Good Friday- all before Easter morning. I try to ‘lean into’ each one to help me prepare my heart for celebration.

Like most celebrations, it takes work. There are a lot of ups and downs. Jesus had prepared for the Palm Sunday celebration with prayer, fasting, teaching, and demonstrating miracles that showed God’s amazing power through faith. After doing so many miracles, many still l doubted who he was. Yet on Palm Sunday they were now shouting “Hosanna!” I pray he felt some satisfaction on that day.

Jesus also knew what was coming. He knew there would be devastating persecution, unimaginable physical pain, humiliation, and unbearable heartbreak for those who loved him.

How did he reconcile all of it? How did he make peace with those who were going to betray him? How is it humanly possible to persevere through Palm Sunday to Easter?

The answer is: it is not humanly possible. I believe only God can demonstrate such incredible forgiveness and love.

When challenged with a difficult person, an irrational fear, or an emotionally charged conversation, I try to remember Romans 12:8 (NIV) “.. if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

That is what Jesus did for us during this Holy Week.

Prayer for today:

Heavenly Father,
Please help me to be like Jesus in my relationships this week. Help me to demonstrate encouragement, generosity, mercy, and grace to those around me. Help me prepare my heart for the miracle of this Holy Week. Help me to feel the incredible power of this words, “He is Risen” on Easter morning with newfound wonder.