Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Good Friday’

Jesus and the crossWhen he [Judas] was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him,God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.
“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” [John 13:31-35]

Surely they were all thinking that, “Where are you going, Jesus, that I can’t go? Haven’t we gone everywhere with you?” Well, except for all those times he went to pray alone or that time he walked on the water or that time he brought Lazarus from the dead or the time he overturned the tables of the moneychangers?

I think the real question they asked in those times may have been more like, “What are you doing?”

Isn’t that the natural response to someone (particularly a child/teen) who is participating some activity that is outside one’s personal “norm?” Or worse, illegal? Or worse, stupid! “What are you doing!?” It’s as though we actually believe, that perpetrator will turn around, look at us, and see the light! “Oh, of course, I shouldn’t be doing this.”

But that’s not how it works. Rarely does the observer, the other person get what is going on, whether it’s using a beer pong in your parents’ basement or predicting one’s death at the hand of the authorities. Or maybe it’s even less clear, like a toddler artistically decorating the hallway walls or a dog marking the new furniture or a kid experimenting with a raw egg in the microwave.

In that moment of discovery, it’s chaos in the head. How could, why would, when did, where did, who’s idea was this anyway?

As much as Jesus tried to explain how it would all work, the understanding of the acts, the miracles, the symbols, the sacrifices, the lectures, the parables, all of it… came later. There was too much to process. They’d be contemplating that event from the morning and then something else would happen at Noon. How do you respond to a miracle? How do you respond to a man who claims blood line with God? How do you believe that the same guy who raised people from the dead would die himself? Brain freeze.

When any pair of friends or now, children of friends, tell me they are planning to get married, I have one piece of advice: really look and remember. It will pass by you like a whirlwind and the next thing you know, the ceremony is over, the reception is over, and you’re sitting in at the pool or beach and wondering what just happened. It’s hard to pay attention when it’s happening to us!

The disciples and writers of Jesus’s life did the best they could. They tried to capture what it felt like not to understand, what it meant in the moment without projecting out to the end.

Today, I want to imagine the moment, the feeling of the first time, the loss of Jesus without the expectation of third day. But I also want to cherish human contact today, the touch of a hand, the look in the eye, the corporateness of faith.

I want to love God and love others.

Read Full Post »

Photo by Mike Dykstra

How often do we need to remind someone? In my house, we must remind teenagers every day (and more than once a day) to clean the cat box, empty the trash, and put the dishes in the dishwasher. And how many more times if we added, “choose what is good today.”

Titus 3:1-2
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
[NIV 2011]

I haven’t been able to verify this piece of information, but I did read somewhere that parents, in order to teach a small child or toddler to say “please” and “thank you,” must be remind the child at least 10,000 times before he or she will remember. That’s daunting. In a year, that’s 27 times a day. And if one has more than child . . . you do the math.

Apparently, it’s not much better with adults who must learn the basics of walking out the faith, the very faith they have chosen to follow and even profess. They must be reminded to choose “good,” to obey authorities, to be considerate and to be gentle towards everyone.

If we must be reminded, the implication is clear: we’re not doing it. I’m not doing it either. Why?

As Samuel Johnson is quoted as saying: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Is it really just forgetting to do it? That’s what my kids say, “I forgot.” My husband is particularly irked by his ignored requests, taking that behavior as a choice and therefore lack of respect.

Maybe it’s just our human tendency to take the easier way, the wide road. After all, choosing to “do good” might take me out of my way or inconvenience me. Being obedient might entail putting that person’s request above my own plans. Or, it could be a type of laziness.

But what about the other elements of this teaching from Paul to Titus? What excuse would there be for not keeping the peace or conducting oneself gently? Is it easier to be argumentative and domineering? Perhaps it’s a safety issue again, a control issue. Somewhere along the line, the idea of being gentle feels too much like being a door mat and keeping the peace may mean giving way to my ideas or my decisions.

Or, maybe I just need to be reminded.

Where do the reminders come from? Sermons? Reading? Small group meetings? Blogs? Music? Yes to all of these and more. We immerse ourselves in these mediums to help us remember.

Other faith traditions do the same thing, keeping feasts and festivals and rituals to help the people remember the why’s of faith.

Today is Good Friday, 2011. It is a day for us to remember the Christ who died, crucified, and the mystery that would be revealed. And as we do, we might also remember the rest of the story, the part that leads us to choose a better way each day.

Thanks be to God.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: