The Day After Good Friday

I wrote the following piece on Good Friday 2012.  Like countless other things I’ve written over the years, it was scrawled out on a tiny piece of scratch paper and buried in a box never to see the light of day! Until now.

One of the things I always treasured about my upbringing in the Lutheran Church was the Lenten Season.  I really did take it seriously even as a wee youngster.  I participated fully in several church services, especially during Holy Week.  First the Maundy Thursday Service which commemorated Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane as he contemplated what was about to happen and prayed to His Father that “this cup would pass from him (Matthew 26:39)” And then, a candlelight Good Friday Service where the seven sayings of Jesus were read aloud by the pastor,  followed by extinguishing each candle until finally every light was snuffed out.  This was a dramatic moment of silence to signify that Jesus had in fact actually died.   Following the service we were all ushered out in silence.  I took this so seriously that, if anyone dared whisper on the way out, I was sure to give them the evil eye (in the nicest way I could).  And then, the vigil…waiting for Easter.  I always wondered what that must have been like for Jesus’ followers, after his death and burial.  Their whole lives had become about following him and now he was dead and buried in the ground.  For they did not yet know what was really going to happen.  Without further ado, here is the piece.  I hope you enjoy it on this night before Easter.

 

“What now, Oh Lord? What Now?”

Must have been the disciples’ cry

After all their dreams had died.

Hopes shattered, trust broken, or so it seemed.

“Nothing left for us,” they cried

The day that Jesus died.

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Image courtesy of Pixabay

This man they followed, giving up their lives,

Believing he was Israel’s special son.

“Now it’s all over,” they cried, “it’s done!”

They must have thought, “our beliefs were for naught…

We’ve been played for fools, all…

Where will we go?  On whom will we call?”

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Image courtesy of Pixabay

With all of their sadness and hopeless hearts’ plea,

They dispersed and ran off their separate ways,

The day after Good Friday.

If you’ve ever felt this way:

Broken, lost, betrayed,

With no more hope to find,

Then we’re all the same in many ways.

Or maybe you’re in a fog waiting for light,

what’s to be your next move?

which way is right?

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Image courtesy of Pixabay

If you’re like me you want to jump to the ending,

and see how those things all turn out, the ones pending…

You see one door closed, a dream’s door slammed shut.

And you wait with great hope to get out of this rut.

Still, we know, there can be no resurrection without first, a death.

And quiet. And wondering. And waiting.

So we wait together, longing….for our own Easter Sunday.

Don’t rush to an ending just be in the silence

and go on this journey with Him.

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The Good Old Days

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

According to author Jacob D. Eppinga, “the good old days” can be understood more literally to mean “the good days now that we are old.” How do we square that with the popular idea in our culture that would have us believe that it is horrible to grow old? Much of the media is full of this idea that we must not show our age.  We are bombarded by advertisements that promise if we use certain products we will retain that “youthful glow” or “turn back the hands of time.” It’s as if old age is something to be avoided at all costs, as if that were possible.  Is there anything good about aging? What do you think?

Living in the Midwest all my life, I have survived the coming and going of many seasons in their order and their yearly cycle.  There is spring time with its blossoming beauty, and a chance to walk outside unencumbered by extra layers of clothes. For allergy sufferers though it can be difficult. Much to the chagrin of the parents of school aged children, summer follows closely on the heels of spring.  With it comes hotter temperatures and longer days. Right now in Autumn, the trees have taken on the beautiful hues that could only have come from the brush of a Master Painter. Look closely at the pretty hues. For they do not last long. Soon will come winter, which to some appears only cold and dark.  Yet to others, it represents the excitement of new adventures in cold weather activities and a sense of awe at the millions of snowflakes glistening in the sun. Some welcome the opportunity to hunker down indoors, surrounded by the warmth of loved ones.

Just as God gave each season of the calendar something unique and beautiful  so it is with life which has its own spring, summer, fall and winter.  There is not one year or time of our lives that is more valuable to God than the others.  God created us  and called us “good.”  He loves us because He fashioned us, breathed life into us, and made us in His own image.  Because He is our maker, He watches us with the delight of a parent watching their children change and grow.

In the Bible, old age is something to be respected.  There is a certain type of insight brought about by the wisdom that can only come from reflecting on life experiences.  Our elders lived through a wide variety of work experience, family life, and societal changes from which we can all learn.  Not only that, but in the “winter” of one’s life there often comes, if a person remains open to it, a sense of acceptance of their life in its entirety.  This can result from time spent in deep contemplation and a strengthening of one’s faith.

Just as the the colored leaves of the autumn tree branches gradually fall gently  to the ground, life’s pretenses in old age start to fall away.  With that comes a type of simplicity.  I felt that simplicity as I held my grandma’s hand in her last few days of life.  (That hand I held: the same hand that gripped mine thirty some years before as she helped me roll balls of cookie dough to bake and then enjoy together). I watched as she slipped away and entered into the new life her Heavenly Father had prepared for her. All these days of “falling leaves” a sort of stripping away, so as to meet her heavenly Father ready to gather in her arms the splendor of what was to come. As I witnessed that sacred ending and beginning, all I could think was how wonderful it was that God loved her through all of these years. All of the seasons with their highs and lows, their easy and hard days, joys and sorrows. Sure there had been times of hardship in each season.  But even in the winter of her life, there was much beauty to behold. And if there is beauty there, who are we to deny or despise the aging process?  If all of our days are sacred to God, can we try to find the sacred in each day, in each season?