Good morning, Good Friday to you. I feel my words do not know how to tumble out or form cohesive thoughts to even encompass what Good Friday means. I read A Holy Experience by Ann Voskamp and Getting Down with Jesus by Jennifer Dukes Lee - my two fellow favorite women in Christ - and I wonder at their ability to grasp these Holy Days with beautiful, meaningful words... or to write about how they cannot possibly grasp these Holy Days...still, with beautiful, meaningful words.
Here I am. I'm at our local coffeehouse. I have longed to escape to the cafe and write for eons. Ok, months. I wanted to write a meaningful, beautiful blog post about Good Friday, but I now see: how can I? I'm new to the faith. I'm just learning about Good Friday, myself. And boy - Easter Sunday! How can I open myself enough to let all that joy and relief and celebration in? Can I hold it all within me?
I'm getting baptized Easter morning. I'm trying to explain it to the little two. 7-year-old kind of gets it; 4-year-old doesn't. How do you explain these things to little ones? Sometimes they understand so much and sometimes so little. I don't want to assume they don't know what's going on. 7-year-old is going through her own falling-in-love-with-Jesus and is curious about the 5th graders' First Communion, Pastor washing their feet (yes! At Maundy Thursday's service, he washed the kids' feet!). Her eyes are opening to all these traditions and I still love how she ends her nightly God-blesses with her "and God bless God, Amen." Because, she asks, who is going to pray for God?
But here I am; the day is full of rain and drear. I suppose that's appropriate for a Good Friday. Educated ones, I ask you: why is it called GOOD Friday? What is GOOD about it? Isn't Easter Sunday the truly GOOD day? I feel so much sadness for Jesus suffering up on the cross at Calvary. His followers and mother and Mary Magdalene weeping for him. Wondering why Jesus is doing this, to what end? Did his disciples truly understand? Or perhaps they trusted him by faith. The way I trust my husband will support me if I should have a bad day.
I've prayed to truly have a more personal relationship with the Holy One. I walk slowly up the hill and can just barely make him out. Crows fly overhead. I can hear high-pitched laughter and shouting. The Romans torturing him. I pray to feel the pain, to realize, fully, what he is doing for us in that moment.
Jesus on the cross, all that time ago, can parallel how I/we are feeling right now. I watch in my mind and I see him suffering. I feel my own sins rise up in my chest, a sinking feeling, a guilty, awful lump in my throat. He is taking it from me. Besides the pain from the crown of thorns, besides the pain from the stakes rammed through the hands and feet, blood dripping down, he is pulling my sins out of me/us.
Do I realize that? Do I realize that whenever I do an unsavory thing, gossip, hurt someone, hurt myself, etc., that I can be absolved of those sins by confessing them to Jesus and truly feeling repentance? And repenting is not just saying, "Sorry, God, I won't do it again." It's feeling Godly sorrow instead of worldly sorrow. Worldly sorrow says that you are sorry you got caught. Godly sorrow is true sorrow for breaking God's heart.
I have so much to answer to, I see as I come closer to the cross.
I still have so much to learn.
Lord, let me learn. Let me feel you.
Tonight's Good Friday service has been described as "spooky" with the sound of the pounding of nails and the darkness of it all. Lord, let the children sit close to us and not be afraid. We will explain to them how after the darkness comes the light. And isn't that a great Godly lesson?
After the dark...
comes the light.