Lent: Day Thirty-Nine

Good Friday

This is perhaps the most solitary and quiet Good Friday I've ever experienced.

When I was young, there was the childhood hubbub that always comes with a holiday...candy, community egg hunts, photos with a giant pink bunny, preparation for church skits, anticipation of the coming sunrise service and the opening of my rainbow-filled Easter basket.

When I was a teenager, my Dad was a pastor. That gave Easter a different kind of hubbub. There was a lot of preparation: cleaning the church, rehearsing with the worship band (I play bass guitar), playing Mary the Mother of Jesus in the drama, helping my mom put together an Easter meal for those who had nowhere else to go.

When I was in college, Good Friday meant going home. Sometimes it tied a nice bow on a fun, relaxing spring break. Otherwise it meant a care package with a rainbow-filled Easter basket, complete with happy plastic grass, Whoppers, and my favorite: pastel-colored, foil-wrapped mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups!

Last year, I participated in Lent for the first time, joining some of my good friends in the practice. When we would gather, we would talk about how we were doing with Lent and what the process was teaching us. It was wonderful. I appreciated all the different insights and felt prepared to celebrate Easter when it finally arrived.

This year, I am far from those good friends. And from my parents, as well. I am looking forward to Easter service and dinner with my sister-in-law's family. Her dad is a pastor, so it will feel familiar. And her family is really great...and they know how to cook!

But as for Good Friday, I've been alone. I was up early and worked hard all day. I did laundry and made dinner. I went hiking and biking in the snow. I cried in the kitchen as I reflected on what Good Friday means.

It means I have a reason to live.

It means I don't have to fear dying.

It means I am loved far, far, far beyond anything I deserve.

It means God throws my sins as far as the east is from the west and remembers them no more.

It means I need to remember the wounds in Jesus' hands, feet, head, and side -- not just today but every day because He carries them for me, for you, for the world.  

What a completely sobering and completely joyous thought! I cannot thank Him enough...

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