Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Freedom was the Word of Easter Weekend: Part 1

As I went through the weekend, and as I now reflect upon it, one word kept resounding.


Easter, for Christians,  is about the resurrection of Jesus Christ who died to free us from the slavery of sin and guilt.

While on the surface that might sound like cliche', I thought of how many times I feel guilty for things that aren't sins when it comes to holidays. Like the fact that I don't do Easter baskets for my kids.

Or when I've actually been guilty by trying to force the family to live up to my expectations for the "ideal" celebration.  Whining, pouting, controlling--the stuff that women excel in. Guilting others. We think we mask our manipulation (calling it "keeping traditions" or "bringing the family together" or even that grand word "celebrating") but it's thinly-veiled coercion if no one else is inclined.

Raise your hand if you've ever felt like celebrating under coercion.

Not I.  In keeping with my own freedom in Christ, I would let go of my expectations of people, myself included. No whiny tone, no second asking, no pouting.

Starting with a Good Friday service.    My daughter originally said her church wasn't having a service, so could she come to ours? Sure.  That'd be great!

But then her church ended up having one, so she went there.  While I wanted to be with her, I didn't want to be on the Baltimore beltway on  a Friday evening during rush hour holiday traffic in the rain. I wanted to go to our church with my hubby and son.  Well, wouldn't you know... my husband ended up helping our oldest fix a  water line leak on Friday (after getting off work at 2) and came home too tired to attend a service. He didn't force our son to go with me, which was okay.

So I went alone, not to our church after all,  but to our friend and pastor Arie's church. As I entered the building, they were cleaning off the tables after feeding the homeless (which they do every Friday night) and then invited them to stay for the Good Friday service.

While initially I felt out of place in my best sweater, nice slacks and heels among people wearing smelly jeans, tennis shoes, and unbrushed hair,  nothing could've been a truer picture of the motley bunch of folks at the Last Supper whom Jesus called friends.

I wasn't together with my biological family but I was with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Together we sang praises to Jesus our King.
Together we thanked Him for His sacrifice.

Together we read scripture and listened to the message.
Together we prayed that others would come to know our sweet Jesus, to put their faith in Him.

It was a rich time of focusing on the words of the centurion at the crucifixion: "Surely this man was the Son of God!" When the sky over Jerusalem  turned dark for three hours and there was an earthquake and people came out of grave,  and the seamless curtain in the temple (60x30 feet by about 4" thick)  tore in half from top to bottom--WOW!  Did that ever happen at any other crucixion? NO! Was the power of God on full display? You betcha.

Did I experience a freedom greater than I have on any previous Good Friday?

Indeed I did.


Susan Kane said...

What an honor to be included in such worship! Blessings abounded.

Danielle said...

Josh said he experienced greater freedom and joy this past Good Friday too.

I can't recall feeling particularly guilt-induced on Good Friday, but it was interesting both of you felt the same way, but were at different services.