Part of my job as a youth ministry intern involves preparing a place for Jesus. Often it means physically preparing a place by moving tables and chairs, but it also means taking time to make space for Jesus spiritually. The worship space on the third floor, where middle school Sunday school happens, requires both maneuvers, practically every week.
One of my favorite set-ups meant turning the third floor into Mt. Sinai. We had a special room to just sit there with God. Where will I make space on my calendar? Where will I find a quiet place for God? How should I feel about God in that space?
Mixed emotions and confusion are exactly how the original disciples felt. Jesus gave them special instructions to set up the Passover meal, but it all felt a little thrown together. (Luke 22:7-13). Also, it might have been a little awkward listening to Jesus talk about His father and dying. Judging from the gospel of John, Jesus also got pretty long-winded.
John 14 begins, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)
The disciples had no idea where Jesus was going, but we do. If we just get through this week, it’s on to celebrating the resurrection. Personally, I can’t wait. A break from school, time with my family, and an Easter lunch that is so close I can taste it.
Yet, Jesus comes into this week facing the bitterness of life. Those painful moments can leave quite a lasting impression. As our Lord grits His teeth and embraces the pain of death, torture, and betrayal at the hands of those He loves, the least we can do is make space for that, to make Holy Week a place of intimacy with our Savior’s humanity.
We can do humanity. It’s the intimacy that needs a space prepared. This week, I pray you find your hospitality for God in both your joys and your concerns, your thorns and your roses, your hopes and you’re your hurts, for God does all of life with us.
Youth Ministries Intern