Palm Sunday's so exciting. Thousands of people paving the way - adrenaline pumping, branches waving, anticipation rising.
Then it came time for the Passover meal. Think Thanksgiving Day when it comes to the scale of preparation required, only add specific and vigorous cleaning requirements along with the food and spices that took days to prepare.
Jesus had no house. His disciples apparently had no landing place either. I would have been stressing about where to eat Passover dinner at least six months ahead of this moment, but the disciples were clearly so caught up in each thrilling moment with Jesus that they it has only just occurred to them that they had no place to go for this major holiday - just now as Jesus says to Peter and John "Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it" (Luke 22:8).
The disciples had lived moment to moment with Jesus for three years, seeing food appear from nowhere and miracles surge out of messes. Now it's on them to pop out a Passover??
Hence the obvious question "where will you have us prepare it?" (along with the certain thought...where do we get the million and one things required to make this meal?!?)
Someone had prepared "a large upper room, furnished" (Luke 22:12). Someone, in the midst of all the hype of Passover week, had prepared the environment where Jesus would establish the covenant of the new Kingdom, including the establishment of communion. This person had worked for days but somehow had no guests lined up to eat there?
We have no way to know the details as to how and why, but we do know that Jesus was very aware of the preparations going on around Him. Judas was in the midst of his own devastating preparations as the unnamed person paved the way in the Upper Room for the Passover meal. Jesus was aware of it all, and it was all part of the plan.
Application: I now have a new "why" for doing housework and food prep.
As I processed these concepts, taught by my friend Paige Kolb with SureFire Prayer, something happened for which I'm pretty sure my husband will be thankful for the rest of our life together. God transformed housework (and other "trivial" things) from mundane to meaningful.
My house belongs to God. I've always believed this. I've always known that my job, together with my husband, is to take care of it, just as it is my job to take care of my body, etc etc. But housework (and also me getting exercise - how many other things could we name???) so often turned into a tension-producer. How do I juggle the busyness of it with the desire to spend time with the kids, with my husband, with God, etc?
Here's the new "why":
Cleaning my house, making food, working out and ______ (insert pretty much any seemingly trivial but necessary job here) all pave the way for God's best plans for me and my family and whoever else He brings in my door. Just as the preparer of the Upper Room had no idea what would play out after his hours of preparation, I have no idea what God will bring about in my house, in my body, etc. I want EVERYTHING He has for me. I want to be aware of what He is doing and constantly on the look-out for His gifts in each moment.
This new "why" has helped me even in the messes. For example, one day I spent all day cleaning the house, making food, inspiring children to clean (um, maybe), and then what played out that night wasn't exactly what I had expected. But BECAUSE I had prepared all day with the right "why," disappointment gave way to the awareness to ask God what He had for me and for us in that moment and receive it instead of being frustrated with how things played out.
Peter and John were led to the Upper Room by a man carrying a pitcher of water. A man. Carrying water in that culture was women's work. How many times have I felt like what I was doing was maybe not as significant as what I knew I "could" have been doing in that moment? This guy served in the way that was required for that day, and became part of perhaps the most famous meal in history.
Sometimes all I want to do is be the front-runner in a Palm Sunday level worship fest, but instead I find myself carrying water - or maybe the other way around! Either way, in each of these moments I have the opportunity to participate in what God is doing.
Thanks, Paige, for teaching me that "preparation" comes before "manifestation." My house says thanks as well:)