by Rev. Tammie Grimm

Read Mark 8:31-38

“Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.” (Mark 8:31)

washing_3262c-2How do you get ready for a storm? Whether it was Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene or “the blizzard that wasn’t” in January, many of us rush to the store to replenish the bread, milk and eggs so we can ride out whatever Mother Nature sends our way. For those of us here in Hunterdon County, where electricity is easily knocked out in high winds, those with generators get extra gasoline — just in case. In a similar sense, it is time to get ready for the last two weeks of Lent.

Traditionally known as Passiontide, these weeks are like the winds before a gathering storm with their own sense of gloom and inevitability heralding Holy Week. Scriptures like our gospel lesson from Mark turns our attention to the ‘Stations of the Cross.’ Our Lenten journey will culminate within the next two weeks. There is only one possible route to Easter – through Holy Week. How are you getting ready?

No, I’m not referring to the baskets filled with chocolate and other sugary confections or the pretty new shoes to go with the Easter dress and bonnet. It’s time to double down in our Lenten journey as we consider how to prepare to travel through Holy Week. Are you ready to face the betrayal of Judas? the denial of Peter? the dozing disciples who neglect Jesus’ request to watch and pray? the treachery of the crowds? the condemnation of Pilate? the order for execution? the stripping? the times he will stumble along the Via Delorosa? the crucifixion?

It is hard to consider and deliberate, but preparations now will help us be ready for this inevitable stretch of the journey.

If Lent is truly about examining our discipleship, our determination to follow God, Passiontide will be soul searching indeed. It’s time to begin to get serious about our preparations.

Prayer: Gracious God, May this time of focus and deliberation further prepare us to be faithful disciples when the storm strikes. It is by your grace we have come this far and it is by your grace we will continue this journey with you.

Rev. Tammie Grimm is an ‘itinerant’ deacon in the North Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist church. She attends school at the University of Manchester in the UK and is a contributor to ‘A Wesleyan Accent.”