Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ugly Friday

Finale of The Living Passover at Crosswalk Community Church

Confession time: I am not a fan of Easter. I'm sorry. I know. It's bad. I especially don't like Easter plays, as a rule. I know what their purpose is. I honor the thought and passion and prayer that goes into them. But I don't like them. Now, Christmas? I love. I'll take any Christmas play. I love the sweetness of Christmas. The gift, the joy, the hope, I love it all. It's beautiful.

Tonight I went to an Easter play at the church that most of my family goes to- my "church-in-law" as I like to call it, Crosswalk Community Church. They put on a huge Easter production every year. Beautifully done, really professional, so passionate, with a large, dedicated cast. My dad is always in it, my oldest brother runs tech. So I feel a sort of family obligation to attend, even though quite a few years I've managed to finagle my way out of it (I'm sorry, family! Probably not the best way to confess to you my Easter phobia, but I promise I felt guilty every time!). I'm always really tense. No matter how many moments are in the play, how many acts, how many characters, you know it's all leading up to that one scene. I clench my teeth. I twist my fingers. I take deep breaths. But every time I cringe and cry and look away. I say to myself so many times, "It's almost over. Just a few more minutes. It's almost done." And when it's done, I heave a relieved sigh and uncurl my toes and say, "Okay. It's okay. You made it through." Why do I hate it so much? I don't hate the reason for Easter. I'm everyday aware of the price that was paid for me. I'm everyday grateful for the grace that was given me.

The truth? Easter is ugly. However beautiful the result, the process is hideous. Heartache, betrayal, death- it is most bitter to watch again and again. And I hate all the ugly. Oh, I writhe with it. I twist in my seat uncomfortably, hating myself for hating it, feeling guilty that I can't love the ugly.

Saying all that, confessing all that, leads me to this: Good Friday is not one of my favorite days. I see all over the place the saying, "It's Friday- but Sunday's coming." But I spend much of the day thinking of what that day meant then, as opposed to what it means now.

Can you imagine what they must have thought? What they must have felt? Can you fathom it? The despair. The shock. The numb repetition of, "I don't understand. What's happened? What's happened? I was so sure." Can you comprehend it? What those two days must have been like for them?

Sometimes my life feels like an endless "Good Friday". An Ugly Friday, truthfully. God, I was so sure. I don't understand what's happened here. I was so sure I had heard You on this. I was so convinced I knew what the next step was. What's happened? I'm steeped in the ugly. The death, the bitter. I see the dream, the future, crucified in front of me as I watch in numb confusion. I was so sure.

But tonight, watching that Easter play,  I let myself think of Sunday. Those two days of despair must have felt like an eternity to them. Hiding out, trying to figure out what on earth had happened. But on Sunday, oh, on Sunday! I imagine those two ugly, dark days turned into a dimly lit dream. Can you see it? Can you fathom it? That puzzle piece that was gone, that missing link, fell into place. Everything made sense. My heart leaps just thinking of it. The laughter. The tears. The homecoming. Oh, I bet they were so homesick for Him. Two days of complete homelessness and loss. And then, Sunday. Light upon light. Song upon song. Can you hear it? We're still singing it.

Tonight, my heart is singing over Ugly Friday. My ugly, my confusion, my bitter, my "What's happened?" - it may seem like an eternity now. But when my Sunday comes, it will be just a memory. Seen through a glass darkly. The joy set before me... Sunday. It's coming.

1 comment:

  1. This is so beautiful, Mary. My eyes are all teary. I love your writing so much.

    I, too, usually find myself thinking back to the first Good Friday, which was anything but "good." Actually, I hate that we call it Good Friday, even though I know why we do it. But I think it's healthy to remember the hopelessness, the despair, the ugly, because it is only in that utter darkness of Friday and Saturday that I can truly appreciate the light and power of Sunday every year.