the last alleluia

The last alleluia came and went, quietly.† When I caught it, it startled me: a sudden loss. The moment felt heavy and solemn. I knew that I must turn my face toward Jerusalem with Jesus and not look back.

I’ve never felt a true desire to make a change for Lent before, but this time I knew that I could not do anything else.

The word faithfulness has been on my mind for the past few weeks, perhaps a gift-word whispered by the Lord himself. When I first heard the word I knew it was a deep desire of mine: Faithfulness to the kingdom of God. Faithfulness to my dear Lord Jesus.

I have little faithfulness. When I’m weary, worn, and sad, I lose it. I let hours and days slip by in aimlessness. I forget my prayers. I forget who I am.

What if I pattern my life on the faithfulness of Jesus? I remember him forty days hungry but still holding fast to the word of God and his identity. I remember him on the road to Jerusalem, each step growing heavier until he stops and turns and warns his friends that he’s going toward his death. Can you imagine the effort it took to walk for hours and days toward that? Weary, worn, sad, faithful.

When I’m weary, worn, and sad, I make the couch my home. I settle down and let the clutter of life rise around me. Foxes have dens, Jesus said. Birds have nests. But the son of man has nowhere to lay his head. When the last alleluia came, I knew I’d have to leave all of it behind to follow him.

But how do I get from the last alleluia to the first? I don’t know. Not by my faithfulness in the end. It’s a mystery of grace, and it’s so sweet. It’s why I call him my dear Lord Jesus: he loves me enough to invite me into his faithfulness and he gives me his faithfulness when I don’t have enough. No matter what happens in the forty days to come, I know I’ll be his, and he’ll be mine, even if he has to carry me all the way. Thank you, Jesus.

†During Lent, we do not speak the word alleluia. It’s restored to us with much joy on resurrection day.


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