Good Friday started with me opening my eyes to sunshine streaming in my bedroom. Ah, a day off. I normally wake up at 5:45am in darkness. I laid in bed for a few minutes, relaxing, still sleepy.
Then I realized what day it was. It was my second favorite holy day of the Church calendar: Good Friday. Why do I love it so much? It is solemn, desperately sad…yet if that is all we see of Good Friday, we fail to see the “Good” part.
I love Good Friday because it makes me look in the mirror and admit exactly what Jesus did for me. We are, you are, I am the reason Jesus went to the cross and soaked up all our sins like a sponge. His love so deep, his compassion so strong.
As I’ve been going about my day I’ve been meditating on something I thought of yesterday:
I was talking aloud to God in the car and I said, Jesus, let me feel Your presence tonight. Help me to feel You with me.
And I paused and then said, and I pray that You feel me, too.
I stopped in my tracks.
Huh? Do we pray for Jesus to feel our presence?
Do we ask God to feel us? Is that a conceited or silly thing to pray? I really had to think about this.
I certainly am not God. I know there aren’t people praying to me, “Oh, I pray for your presence.” Why would I expect God to say to me, “Oh thank you, child of mine, for praying that I might feel you.”
But that’s not how I meant it. Plus, I don’t think God is that haughty.
I always ask God to be with me. I felt bad yesterday because isn’t God always with us?
Immanuel = God With Us.
I wanted Jesus to know that I was with him.
In Scripture, where Jesus asks his main disciples to stay awake with him in the garden of Gethsemane, it breaks my heart to know they didn’t. I realize, sadly, that I could have made that very mistake.
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
-Mark 14:37-38 (NIV)
And so I say, Jesus, I know I did not stay awake for you.
In other words, I know I sinned.
I want to devote my life to you. Please know I will stay with you. I will follow you. I will believe you.
And so, on this Good Friday, as the crowds surrounded him hung high on the cross, as some mocked and jeered, some cried and wailed, today I am standing there with the believers, with those who know who Jesus is and who we are in His presence.
I believe in you, Lord. Thank you for dying for us.
I pray that you feel me, I who have sinned and will sin again. I pray that you know I will not fall asleep. I will remain awake and vigilant. I pray that, just as I feel and know your love, that you feel and know mine.