Good Friday brought up a lot of thoughts in me. Holy Saturday brings more.
- I spent part of the morning pulling a red wagon full of large rocks through the DTES, and dropping them off in various locations. I got a lot of comments and funny looks. I felt a bit like the disciples who were sent to get an untamed colt for Jesus, and the strange questions they might have been asked. I felt foolish, but the good kind of foolish.
- Our church did an abridged Stations of the Cross walk around the neighborhood, stopping at different places to pick up and carry one of these rocks, and to read part of the crucifixion narrative and sing a short song. We stopped at the Courthouse, and we stopped in alleys. We ended at the beach at Crab Park, where we built a cross out of the rocks. This is where we will celebrate Easter tomorrow. Good Friday was the first service we did in this neighborhood, two years ago, before our "official" launch - this was our third Good Friday walk. I believe it's significant our community of faith began by acknowledging Jesus' presence with us in the midst of suffering.
- Power has been on my mind a lot lately, and I was struck again by Jesus' downward mobility - how he had to give up all control and make himself completely vulnerable to betrayal, pain, and death in order to conquer death and the powers of darkness. I was reminded that while following Jesus does bring life to the full, following Jesus will also sometimes - often - feel like carrying a cross. It will feel like failing. It will feel like death. The way of Jesus leads down before it leads up. I know today that are many things in me that still need to fully die, and one of them is my need for control, my need to feel like I'm succeeding and being effective and useful. Kathy Escobar always writes about this on her blog, and I love it.
- Yesterday afternoon, I managed to finally finish this book, A Million Little Pieces. I had been reading it for over a year, but only on Welfare Wednesdays, as a way to enter into the mindset of someone with a substance addiction. But I decided Good Friday was also a good day to read it. I know there's been a lot of controversy around how factual the book is, but I think it's quite valuable in terms of its vivid description of the mental, spiritual, and physical experience of addiction.
- I saw this video yesterday (linked off Kathy's blog), and really liked the analogy Brene Brown uses: a lot of people come to church or come to Christ looking for an epidural (a God and a community to take away their pain), and end up finding a midwife (a God and a community who sit with them in the midst of pain and help them push through it). Watch this for the rest of what she says.
- I've got this song running through my head, "You Won't Relent," about God's unrelenting love and desire for us to surrender everything to him.
- Last night, I watched Of Gods and Men. It's about a group of French monks who are wrestling with whether to stick it out at their monastery in Algeria during the unrest in the 1990s. It's a beautiful movie, again, about surrender, and the cost of giving yourself fully to God and to a community. Very moving. Here's the trailer.
Now it is Holy Saturday. I remember hearing someone once talk about Holy Saturday as a one-day mirror of the "waiting" space in which we find ourselves in salvation history: we are in between our own spiritual death and our full transformation and resurrection, in between the death of this earthly kingdom and the full coming of the next kingdom. It's a good challenge to wait well, to wait actively, to hold on to hope, when your Savior seems at times to be so absent, whether hidden behind a gravestone, or away, preparing a place for you.