We have just gone through a series of so-called holy days. The days from Palm Sunday to Easter we call “Holy Week”, at the end of which is the dramatic Good Friday with the amazingly rich legacy of Jesus’ crucifixion and all that happened around it.
Quiet Saturday is just quiet.
And then comes the climactic Easter Sunday with the victorious and life changing resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
These days are the hub of the gospel message of reconciliation, salvation and hope.
It is good to reminded every year of the great deeds of God over these “holy days”. But I think we need to consider each and every day as holy.
In the poem ‘Vroegherfs’, by the renowned Afrikaans poet, NP van Wyk Louw, he utters the plea, “O Heer, laat hierdie dae heilig word,” as he applies what he observes in nature during autumn, to his personal growth. Guy Butler translated that part as follows (Afrikaans poems with English translations, ed AP Grove, 1962):
“Dear Lord, may all these days be sanctified:
let all things fall that are showy and vain
or merely young and far removed from tears;
make riper, Lord, let your wind blow; my pride
strip off, till all that’s great at last show plain
naked and firm above my greener years.
“Holy” or “sanctified” means to be set aside for a special, spiritual purpose. As with spring, summer and winter, these days of autumn, each one of them, should be appreciated and interpreted as holy, as a mirror in the seasons of our personal life and growth. Autumn especially, reminds us of the need, often with pain and tears, to lose aspects of our self-centredness or superficiality.
Paul advises the Ephesians (5:15,16), “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
Our days would truly be evil if we do not make use of every opportunity and every day to grow. As the glorious green remnants of summer fall around us during these days of autumn, may the showy and vain leaves of pride also fall from our lives.
And so may all these days indeed be sanctified.
In my personal walk, I have come to regard the season of losing my wife, Augusta, to Covid-19, also as holy days. From the time at the end of November when I intensely prayed for her healing, up to the present time of dealing with her death, it has been one, longer than usual, autumn season in my life.
The season of loss of precious, but temporary, things, also brings with it growth though, and ripening and becoming stronger. As the autumn winds of God strip away much of our taking-for-granted attitudes, through suffering and pain, may we all seize each day (carpe diem) as an opportunity to grow towards more purity and integrity.
After the terrible autumn of Jesus losing his life on Good Friday, a glorious spring of new life and hope broke through on Easter Sunday.
Dear Lord, may all these days be sanctified.
Strauss de Jager, NG Kerk Albanie