Saturday, April 03, 2010

GOOD Friday

 9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    (1 John 1:9, 21st Century King James Version)

By Belinda

I sat, at the end of the day, thankful to rest at last, enjoying the cool, gentle, night breeze wafting in through the open screen door, carrying with it the call of coyotes from across the fields, wild and haunting.

It had been a perfectly exhausting but perfectly wonderful day. Good Friday; good Good Friday.

It had been 2.00 a.m. that Friday morning when I finally conceded that I had done as much as energy and common sense would allow, to prepare for our family dinner after the Good Friday communion service. Okay, scratch the "common sense" from that last sentence--sometimes common sense cannot prevail when there is work to be done. But the sweet potatoes and warm potato salad were ready and the potatoes for scalloped potatoes were ready to peel and slice later in the morning. I could go to sleep in peace.

Later that morning, the spiral ham in the oven, I stepped out into the warm spring sunshine to drive to church for worship practice before the service.

I was a few minutes late getting there after last minute the dinner preparations and Cheryl, Jessica, Cindy and Frances were already practicing the second song:Chris Tomlin's, Jesus Messiah. Their voices blended in rich harmony and as I took my place among them, Cheryl handed me a microphone, with a smile and a wink. I thought, as I so often do, how privileged I am to be part of this worship team.

It was the first time I'd been to church since I wrote the blog post about our church business meeting; and I was a little nervous in case I had offended anyone by it. So, between the practice and service, I checked in with Cheryl. She hadn't read the blog post, so I gave her a synopsis of the "meant to be funny" story about the hippy faction (including me) who didn't want to be stereotyped as Gaithers fans just because of being over 50. That's when I found out that in fact, the exchange that took place last Sunday had hurt someone who loves that music.  Suddenly it didn't seem so funny and I was mortified.

As soon as I could, I grabbed the hand of the person we had hurt, and apologized.

"It wasn't you," she said..

"Yes, it was," I said--and tried to explain, while feeling crushed that a brief, and (to Ann and I) funny, fling, had caused pain to someone I care about.

In my determination to resist a stereotype, I had been guilty of stereotyping. Isn't that the way it goes?!

It isn't cool to be cruel, and cruelty is in the heart of the receiver. I was sorry from the bottom of my heart for saying and doing something that was experienced as unkind. I determined that in future I would be more careful. If there is a buffoon to play a part in my joking or writing, it shall be me. I have more than enough material to keep me going from that quarter.

To my repentant heart, the words of the communion service, resonated deeply.

I looked down at the congregation as the ushers circulated among them, serving the juice and bread. I looked at Lindsay sitting beside her mom, and I thought of her Sunday School class with Susan the previous Sunday, when she had taken the girls outside to gather hawthorn branches to make a crown of thorns. I knew that this Easter would be different for Lindsay because of that.

I looked down at my dear friend Susan sitting with a curly haired grandson beside her, and thought of all that God has been doing in her life of late. I sent up a prayer of gratitude for the miracle of God's work in our lives.

I thought of our brokeness and bumbling relationships as a congregation and how I don't want to be thought of as "cool" in my music choices as much as I want to be known as one who loves well. I think that's what God cares about more than anything else, too.

After church the dinner was got to the table with many helping hands and 12 of us sat down to celebrate family.

We feasted until replete and then the kids watched a movie while we started the Big Clean Up. Finally we all went for a walk to the park.

And the weekend isn't over. There is more to come. If this was Good Friday, I can't wait for Easter Sunday.

And by the way, here is a clip from a Gaither concert!


4 comments:

Marilyn Yocum said...

A perfectly lovely photo collage.

It is a good Good Friday when amends can be made. Our restoration was paid for by Christ. When we choose restoration between ourselves and others, we honor that divine work. (I feel your pain, though. Who among us with a sense of humor has not, at times, had to seek forgivenss?) A good Good Friday.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Oh, no, I'm going to have to scour my conscience I think. I weary of people who take offense where none is meant, who look for hurt where none is intented, who take humour and turn it into hostility. I do agree we need to take care with our humour but, sometimes, just sometimes, I'd like the offense taker to apologize for priggishness. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

Belinda said...

Dear Friend,
It wasn't about the offence taker but about knowing that they felt hurt. Their hurt is what I care about, not why they felt hurt. I value them more than my wacky sense of humour, which in no way shall be dampened for using myself as its subject.

And I can help you out with your wish for "just once" the offence taker apologizing for priggishness. I've been there, done that--and more than once! Ask Susan. :)

Susan said...

You totally have my permission to use me as the subject once in a while. Life is no fun if we can't laugh at ourselves - and each other - once in a while. I guess it depends on how strong that bridge of friendship is - and what it is that we're laughing about. There isn't much you couldn't tease me about anynore, though, and get away with.

There's a lot of "hurt feelings" out there... I wish I could tell the whole world sometimes to just "lighten up". But at the same time, if I do inadvertently hurt someone, I do want to do what I can to take that hurt away... (My favourite prayer: "God, please put one arm around my shoulder and the other hand over my mouth, 'cause I'm afraid it's gonna be one of those days!")