Good Friday Reflections - I used to love going to church, singing hymns, reading and hearing sermons. I used to love being in the community with others who came together for similar purposes as I did. I used to love the Maundy Thursday reading of the Last Supper passages and reenactments the little churches I’ve participated in portrayed from one year until the next.
I would dress for church “appropriately” in “church attire” and I would get there early to get a good seat, aka my seat. With or without my Vinnie, I’d be there each day in Holy week to connect to and be reminded of and to fall in love with Jesus all over again. I did this to appreciate Him and to try and grasp the meanings behind the Passion of the Christ.
I used to love to tell the story and the Gospel according to Denise. I know it sounds wrong but its so. The Gospel according to each one of us individually matters.
I used to weep on Good Friday. I used to go to church a lot. I miss having the love of going to church that I once carried in every fiber of my being. I don’t know when I lost it. Was it when I was struck with a depression? Did I make a mistake being employed by two different churches? Did I get too involved in committee work? Was it because of when I was a kid? I haven’t been able to trace it. But I know that I don’t love church so much anymore.
I don’t like rushing to get out the door in time, or dressing up. I don’t like to feel alone and I don’t like to be in a community where I am reminded of things that have separated me from what was once experienced as Grace. We are powerless over other people, places and things and I am reminded not to hold a grudge so I let go and I release and I pray and I find there is comfort in prayer and in like-minded community. But, I miss loving church and singing hymns. I miss the enjoyment of hearing sermons.
Oh and I do miss the passion I had. Perhaps it was the exuberance of youth? I miss how the longing in my heart would somehow be filled with an assurance that goes beyond explanation. And I miss the way my heart would break and mend all at the same time with the reading of Jesus’ words from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The words assured because those words remind me that I had not been singled out to suffer for some major or minor sin that created a separation between my heart and the Messiah’s.
In the emptiest moment of the afternoon most Good Fridays, I will sit quietly and now alone while I contemplate the reason and purpose for my life’s mission. I am reminded today of how many times I have been loved and reassured by good church folk that while there is the dark night, there is also the bright morning. I am reminded of the folks I’ve sat with over the years and tried to witness or reassure them in a time of need. It is a lonely wait that calls us from today until Easter Morning. It’s lonely for each one of us. Even so, we are not alone.
Today I feel I am walking a forsaken walk and I wish I didn’t feel the call to share so personal a story. But I know this for certain, I answer the call , “Here I am, send me.” because experience has shown me time and again that this truth telling - my truth - is the best way for me. It’s through the cross and beyond to a glorious new beginning again and again. See you in church. Maybe…