“The Most Important Thing”

“Don’t major in minors”

It’s what we tell people – or ourselves – when we start to focus on things that aren’t really important. Majoring in minors seems to happen most when there’s a lot going on and we’re not sure where to focus. Then it’s too easy to get grabbed by the thing we think is important.

One Holy Week many years ago, I planned a Good Friday service of Tenebrae. This service tells the story of Christ’s passion – not only with scripture, but with candles and music and special light and sound effects. I had involved our music director, multiple readers and a sound effects person who was going to shake a piece of metal at the designated time – symbolizing Christ’s breaking out of the tomb.  

Needless to say, this was a worship service with many moving parts. By the time we did our run through Friday afternoon, I was focused intently on getting people to read with feeling, play with feeling and for goodness’ sake, shake that metal at the right time!

I realized – I hope not too late – that I cared more about the mechanics of the service than what it was all about. Here I was virtually terrorizing my brothers and sisters on a night when Christ was supposed to be central: his sacrifice and his love. Keeping Him at the center was the main thing… really the only thing.

The scripture for Monday in Holy Week tells the story of Jesus “cleansing” the temple by driving out the merchants and money changers. (Mark 11:15-19) It’s one of the rare times Jesus gets angry, but his anger is driven by folks who should know better majoring in minors. The selling of animals, the changing of secular money into temple coins – it was all just a means to the most important end of worshipping God; but too many of the religious leaders made profit and power the main thing instead of God.

It seems to me that Holy Week is a great time to re-evaluate our own priorities in life. 

If we make Christ’s cross the main thing, we can refocus on what He would say and do:

Serving – even to the point of self-sacrifice

Showing kindness and not judging

Working for peace

Cultivating the deeply spiritual gift of patience

Demonstrating love, especially to those who are the most unlovable.

We honor Christ, we honor his death, and we live into his death and resurrection when we remember that these actions are the most important thing… maybe the only things that ultimately matter.