Set on the Father’s Heart

Social media has affected life as we ever knew it. Among other things, it has come to serve as an informal measure of social acceptance. It can be so gratifying when many people like, react to, or share our posts. It can be so discouraging, on the other hand, when others never like or say something nice to our statuses on social media.
Such emotional response is really nothing new. Humans have struggled for ages with the subtle connection between one’s perceived social acceptance and their sense of self-image. Facebook did not create it. Social media only revealed it a little bit more.
As we turn to Palm Sunday this weekend, we follow our Savior into Jerusalem as he is confronted by the same kind of temptation. One of the enigmas of Palm Sunday is the swing in the mood of the service. It begins with joy, pomp, and hope. The people raise their voices and palms to the Son of David who comes in the name of the Lord. The “likes” and “shares” spread across the city.
Then midway, the service begins to darken and turn gloomy. It’s all thumbs down and distaste for this warrior without a “real sword.” The “dislikes” begin to roll in and the stage is set for the road to Calvary.
How did Jesus handle the swings of His own social acceptance? He was not defined by either extreme. His heart was always set on the will of the Father. He knew the hollowness of those kinds of highs and lows. His self-image in incarnation was defined by the heart of the Father.
Have you ever struggled with self-esteem based on your perception of other people’s opinion of you? Well, you have a High Priest who understands your struggles. He knows how it must feel when we are called good names or bad names. But more than that, He also knows the heart of the Father toward you. He wants you to hear what the Father calls you. He wants the Father’s voice to drown all others and fill your soul with the truth of who you are in Him.
Beloved. Esteemed. Forgiven. Redeemed. Victorious. Robed in His righteousness. The apple of God’s eye.

Donald Nwankwo
Rector, The Light of Christ Church