Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday is over, but is it finished?

Good Friday has come to an end. I've finished my Lenten fast, if I can even call it that. I didn't eat much less. I just ate differently.  But the commitment on Ash Wednesday and each Friday in Lent required conscious thought and discipline -- which kept me cognizant of the purpose for which I was doing it: to heighten my awareness of my need for Christ and also my awareness of His sacrifice for me. 

Tonight, I wasn't able to let go of work  to make it to the traditional Good Friday worship service at what I still consider "my" church in Norman. I missed the familiar, cross-focused, plaintive songs associated with this day and also the Goodrich tradition of pounding nails representing my sins, weaknesses and-or failures into a wooden cross. 

Instead, I was grateful to be able to go across the street from my downtown Oklahoma City office into a park, where a Norman church was having its Good Friday program. The contrast to what I would have experienced at Goodrich was  great. The mood was festive instead of somber. The "good" part was emphasized over what Christ endured on the day we were calling to mind. But the cross is still the cross, even if the preacher mostly softened the image by referring to the tree. 

Somehow, the absence of emphasis on the cruelty of Christ's passion made me more aware of it. Adding to my awareness was a brisk north wind. The night before, the park would have been pleasant. This night, the cool of the night -- and the call of the work waiting to be finished -- made it a challenge for me to stay. But how could I not? Such a small sacrifice ... a minor inconvenience. And then I could return to a warm office to wrap up work,  and eventually to a warm car for the drive to a warm home. (And besides that, I had a jacket and scarf; I just didn't have gloves or something for my ears.)

Now, I've stayed up late. I'm so aware that I'm not ready for Easter. Lord, help me prepare my heart and soul. Help me live for You alone. 

This morning, I was distracted by thoughts of what would I do with my life if I weren't overwhelmed with trying to meet all the expectations I feel are on me.  And my thoughts have returned there. 

I would write. The  reason I've quit making any commitments that involve writing is because I'm so slow. As I thought of it this morning, I was aware that I no longer feel justified in describing myself as a writer, even though in my heart I still think I am. Would I be able to write if I could take my time? Or is that wishful thinking??

I would sing. 

And I would do meaningful things WITH other people. I am not a leader or innovator or originator.  I am a helper and supporter and encourager. 

But so many things get in the way. 

I had hoped to give up some of those "things" this Lenten season. It seems I did not. Nor did I nail them to that whimsical tree at the park.


Lord, please help me prepare my heart and soul. I want to live for You alone.   

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