Consecrate – make or declare something sacred; dedicate formally to a religious or divine purpose.
Holy Week is a time to fully devote ourselves for a specific religious purpose, which is celebrating the death, burial and resurrection. Old Testament priests were consecrated for their service in the tabernacle, and all the congregation of Israel consecrated themselves for three days before meeting God at Sinai. That time of preparation for a special encounter is exactly what Holy Week is about. Like the Advent season before Christmas Day, Holy Week is a period of time during which we prepare for a special worship celebration. We take special care to draw near to God (James 4:8) as he draws near to us.
Two of the Gospels, Matthew and Luke, record the birth of Jesus. All four Gospels record the death, burial and resurrection. But there’s more than that. Each Gospel account records specific events of the final week of Jesus’ life, also known known as Passion Week. The Gospels devote a total of 27 chapters to the events between the Triumphal Entry (Palm Sunday) and the crucifixion. Our culture places special value on a person’s last words. We have a large collection of the final parables, lessons, sermons and prayers of Jesus during the week of his passion. Holy Week is an occasion for every Christian believer to spend more time than usual with Jesus in preparation to celebrate his greatest work.
Consecration during Holy Week requires focus. Paul tells us to keep our eyes on the mark and the prize. Keeping our focus is probably the greatest challenge we face in this day and age. We have large screens, small screens, portable devices, wifi, satellite radio, smart phones and 4G connectivity. To keep our eyes on the road we have cars that read our email out loud. Our Facebook and Twitter feeds are routed to our cell phone text alerts. Devoting extra time to scripture and prayer has always required giving up time spent on other things. In our society today, thanks to multitasking, giving up even a few minutes of time means missing out on several things at once. Focusing on only one thing at a time may be completely unheard of for the upcoming generation. Of course I realize the irony of writing about these things on a blog. I’m the same guy that encourages scripture study at ESVBible and devotional time with Our Daily Bread. Whether you’re online on reading a black leather Scofield, the issue is what – better make that who – we are focused on.
This Holy Week has mostly past, but it’s not too late if you’re just joining us. Tomorrow is Good Friday and from there it only gets better. Read a Gospel, or a commentary on Christ’s Holy Passion. Find an extra minute or two here and there to say a little bit more prayer than usual. Or go the distance and put everything aside that can wait until next week and devote that time to study, prayer, meditation, reading… and consecration.