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Sometimes I suffer from “writers’ block.”  I don’t know what to write.  I can’t settle down to even begin to put words on a page.  I am pre-occupied by numerous other important distractions.  It is a week away from Holy Week and two weeks from Easter.  I am thinking about sermons for Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday (I am preaching at the Men’s Breakfast at the Methodist church in the morning and at Trinity in the afternoon) and Easter Sunday.    I am also pre-occupied by the impending Nor-Easter and whether or not to cancel Bible Study, Soup Supper and the Praise Band concert.

Add to all of this pressure, “Toys ‘R’ Us” is going out of business!  Not that I am a regular customer.  I haven’t been in one their stores in years.  However, it dawned on me that I have a gift card somewhere that should be used rather than added to my collection of gift cards from out of business businesses. It had been a week since the I heard of their impending doom.  After seeing news reports of the announcement and seeing footage of customers (also with unused gift cards or trying to find bargains) picking the shelves clean like hungry locusts, I knew I had to act soon.  Actually, I thought I might be too late to find anything worth my time so I contemplated not visiting a store.

Faced with the decision of using my $20 gift card or writing my newsletter article I found myself headed to the store.  I must say that when I arrived, I was swept with a bit of nostalgia.  The store was laid out exactly as I remembered it from when the boys were young.  There were only a handful of customers milling around and the shelves were well stocked.  I was surprised by this.  As I walked through the aisles I wondered what treasure I would find.  I walked through the baby, toddler and Lego sections without pause. But then, I arrived at the Nerf zone.  Should I buy a couple of Nerf blasters so my son Jake and I could recreate one or our famous Nerf battles from yesteryear?  What about a Nerf crossbow zombie blaster?  And what was the new toy gun that shoots mini ping pong balls?  I enjoyed running through a fair number of memories as I surveyed the Nerf armory before me.  I even remembered getting a Nerf ball for Christmas when I was seven (that was the only Nerf product at the time).  Even though it was supposed to be safe to play with inside the house, my sister and I did some damage with that ball!

Next, I found myself in the Star Wars section.  Cool stuff here but nothing that I wanted.  I did think about purchasing an animatronic “porg”, which is the newest cute creature from the latest Star Wars movie.  However, I knew it would lose its novelty quickly and it might scare Socks the cat so I moved on.  I quickly moved through the remaining sections but found nothing interesting, so I did a common-sense thing.  I bought $20 worth of wrapping paper.  In the end, my gift card did not go wasted, nor was my time wasted as I spent a good half hour with some great memories of my children and my childhood.

As we enter into Holy Week, we remember the last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry.  We remember the triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) the Last Supper, the betrayal, the trial, the beatings and mocking, the Via Dolorosa, the crucifixion, the burial and finally against all hope, the resurrection.  Unlike a nostalgic trip through a toy store, Holy Week is not just a fond memory.  It is the story of God’s love for us.  It is the story of Jesus’ love and sacrifice for us.  It is a reminder that Jesus died for us, so that we will live eternally with Him when He comes to reign in Heavenly glory.  It is a reminder to remain faithful until the day of Jesus’ return.

In the Name of the Risen Lord,