I’m digging through my recipe box for Great Aunt Edith’s pineapple stuffing. The morning light was a soft sunshine yellow that somehow suddenly morphed into a dark, sobering gray. Wind now forces the rain sideways in gusts. The content sounds of a child flying his paper-made Star Wars ships waft up the stairs.
Last night we had a family discussion about how we might feel on this day, this “Good Friday.” It’s a loaded topic.
More than two thousand years ago, on the eve of this same day, the outlook for followers of believers was bleak. Jesus had been arrested, taken before Pontius Pilate, beaten, mocked, spat upon, disowned by his own friend, even. A murderer was chosen over him to be released, and in his weakness he was forced to carry his own cross but couldn’t do it, so someone else was forced to carry it for him.
And this day, this Good Friday, forces us to remember why it all happened. Thousands of years before that, someone in the Garden of Eden gave in to the lies set up before him by the serpent, and every day since then every single human, created by God and for God, has been driving nails into the hands and feet of Christ. It’s a wonder we’re not jolted by the sound. Yes, that includes me. I am guilty.
But that same day, as Jesus’ mother wailed and lamented in the crowd of onlookers, a thief was forgiven and welcomed into paradise. As the curtain of the temple tore in two, many holy people who had died were raised to life. Jesus cried out, “Why have you forsaken me?” And He also cried out, “It is finished!” And the Father, who turned His face away from His Son, made His face shine upon believers.
Sorrow? Yes. Grief? Yes. Joy? Yes, joy, too.
I’ve found the pineapple stuffing recipe. The 3×5 card has an oily butter mark in the corner. (Lots of butter, a pinch of cinnamon…) It is placed aside for Easter feast preparations which will take place tomorrow. I dig in the closet for my umbrella – black with little bright red cherries on it. I can’t help but smile. Black, for mourning over sin. Red, for the blood Jesus spilled out for me. I open it and step off the porch and rain cascades down all around me, washing away filth and giving life.
This Good Friday is full of emotions, but mostly I am thankful. So, so, so deeply thankful.
(I later got to celebrate The Lord’s Supper at a 2:00 worship service. I knelt next to my eighty-four year old mommom, and my dad served us the bread and the wine. On Sunday, the third day, we’ll eat another feast together, celebrating our Lord’s resurrection. But the best part is knowing we will one day feast with The Lamb. I don’t think Mommom’s hands will be wrinkled, nor Dad’s hair gray, but I just might still bawl like a baby – in thankfulness, of course.)