I know I will catch some flak for this, but I must say I have been disapointed by the anemic attendance of Holy Week services….30 on weekday mornings for devotional time…Wednesday night footwashing and communion…maybe 175. Tenebrae….maybe the same. Will some people only turn out if they have to bake a casserole or if they are offered a full breakfast buffet or free candy and gifts for their children? Where is the sacrificial spirit of Lent leading up to Easter? Where is the gratitude and devotion to Christ for what He has done and is doing for us? In all probability the crowds will be there Easter Sunday….in new clothes and making the obligatory appearance on one of the “THE” religious days. They are sometimes reportedly called “CEO” Christians …. Christmas/Easter Only, or in the media “nominal Christians” (meaning “in name only”). Meanwhile, it is the ones who attend week in and week out, who support the special efforts of the choir and the missions team and the Sunday School teachers and the pastor, who tithe and give above and beyond for particular needs and ministry opportunities, who serve in various tasks and who invite their friends to come and be a part of their fellowship. Those are the ones with whom I feel community. I will do anything I can for them. I will also do anything I can for the others, too…But I will be doing it for my friends and fellow disciples out of my own love and sense of kin on the one hand, out of feelings of affection and with joy. On the other hand, I will have to pray and ask Christ to give me His Spirit, his love, to serve and feel the joy in serving those who are such shallow and nominal Christians that they take this Holy Season and every day and every good gift from God that we are privileged to enjoy so for granted. When we see the increasing persecution of Christians around the world and, yes, even the persecution of those who stand up for their religious beliefs here in our country, we can know who will be there for us, for the church, and for what is right when the persecution becomes personal…. we can also know who will not. And still, we pray for them all…..faithful and shallow and faithless alike. Saved and “seeking” and unsaved and out-and-out rebellious unbelievers and even those who seek to do harm to others. We pray for them all….and we pray for Jesus to protect us from evil. And we pray for Jesus to come quickly….