I experienced Lent for the first time this year. I’m not perfect, and I broke my Lent far too often. But I don’t have to be perfect, do I? Lent reminds me I don’t have to redeem myself because that’s already been done.
I’ve never been excited for Easter. Birthdays? Always. Christmas? Who isn’t? But Easter seemed so futile. With floral dresses, chocolate bunnies, and plastic eggs saturating grocery aisles and church pews, it’s hard to understand the power that killed death 2,000 years ago.
Not this year. Like a child finally understanding the instructions from her parents, I blame this year’s Easter excitement on profound sermons and passionate pastors.
It’s hard to say this without emphasizing the agony Jesus experienced, the agony he experienced for us.
Jesus was tortured.
But you’ve heard all this before, I’m sure. The scriptures say it, the hymns say it, the Sunday school teachers say it. And we skim over the words without truly understanding their meaning. So, this is an effort to walk into the Sacred Triduum (the Sacred Triduum begins the evening of Holy Thursday and continues until the evening of Holy Sunday) with a small understanding of what Christ bore for us.
Good Friday, 2021
It’s my palm leaf,
laid out before the King on a mule.
It’s my drooping eyes,
my fallen face,
that did not watch as you prayed.
It’s my hand,
that turned over my brother, confidante, sweet friend.
It’s my betrayal,
that caused those bitter tears.
It’s my curse,
that drove the wedge, that roused the war.
It’s my whip and thorns,
my words of scorn,
that tore and scarred and mocked you.
It’s my hammer,
that compelled you to the cross.
And on Golgotha,
in the darkness,
amidst the reversal of death to life,
it was you.
It was your thirst,
that granted Living Water.
It was your blood,
that redeemed severed love.
It was you, between villains.
It was me, beside The Eternal One.
It was your forgiveness,
you who took my demons, defeats, disrepute
and carried them to the Abyss.
And it was you, who, unlike me,
It was you who said,
Do not be afraid.
I have not forsaken you.
And it was me who did not recognize the kind eyes that cared, the powerful hands that held, the gentle voice that blessed.
But for me you suffered, you choked, you cried.
When your heart was broken, mine revived.
“Behold, the curtain was torn, the earth shook, the rocks split, the tombs opened, the dead woke up. And they, filled with awe, said, ‘Truly this is the Son of God.’”