It is so full and so crazy, but I do so love this week. The Seder on Wednesday night was ~ "so beautiful." That's what everyone kept saying, anyway, and I had to agree. The beautiful part goes far beyond the table settings and candles to the number of people gathered to remember the sin, death, and slavery we were rescued from by our Passover Lamb.
Then yesterday we gathered for the 14th year in a row ~ since we started the church ~ to walk the wooden cross through our town ~ reading the story of Good Friday at different stops along the way. This is definitely not a "fun" thing to do, but an important one, I think. On a very, very small scale it allows us to identify with the shame and ridicule that Jesus endured on the way to His death on our behalf.
Later in the evening ~ after I took Kory to the airport for a college-tour trip ~ we met back at church for a Tenebrae service with chairs circled around the cross and dramatic readings from scripture telling the story of the Crucifixion. It ends in complete darkness and silence. Many stayed to pray in the solemn shadows. While I sat praying, I kept thinking of the stanzas from two of my favorite hymns...
My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the Cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, O my soul!
(It Is Well With My Soul ~ Horatio Spofford)
And when I think that God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin
(How Great Thou Art ~ Stuart Hine)
And then today, on this "in between day" ~ the day after the death of Christ and before His Resurrected victory over death, we went to a funeral. Well, actually it was a memorial service for a young man who took his own life last month ~ the 22 year old son of a friend of ours ~ a child we've known and interacted with off and on for the last 13 years.
It was both grievous and glorious. We cried as his parents and friends talked about their indescribable sadness and as we watched the slide show of his baby through college years. And then we clapped and praised and sang together in the joy of knowing his eternal security and ours, too. Because his life celebration was all held on this "in between" death and resurrection day, it gave us all such a vivid picture of the hope of Resurrection and New Life ~ the things that WILL happen to us who believe ~ by grace through faith ~ because of WHAT JESUS DID tomorrow. If there could ever be a "perfect" day to mourn and hope all at the same time, today is certainly that day.
Before and after the memorial, Kayla and I worked on an "au naturel" Easter egg project. We boiled cabbage, yellow onions, beets, turmeric, coffee, and saffron in various combinations to make natural dyes for our eggs this year. We let the dyes cool while we were away for the afternoon, and this evening, we've been letting the eggs sit in the natural dyes. Actually, Kayla has been dying eggs AND cooking dinner for us at the same time this evening ~ Ginger BBQ Chicken Kabobs! She's getting to be a pro in the kitchen.
They are turning out better than I expected. The beets definitely provide the strongest stain, and second runner-up goes to the yellow onion skin/saffron/turmeric dye. I love the "earthy" look of the finished product.
The day is almost over, and that's a good thing...
For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless, you are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
I Corinthians 15: 16-19