Day of death, today. Good Friday. Day of grief. Day of loss. Day of remembering. Day of reflecting. Day of sin.
Good Friday takes on new meaning for me each year. Today, it is a day of prisons and repentance.
Each year as I grow I faith, my sin grieves me more and more. I am young, but the weight of my forgiveness is not lost of me. The torn skin and sweaty brow of my Lord makes me want to look away and not because I'm grossed out. Because I know I did that. I know he died for me.
Hilltop cross, San Xavier Mission, Tuscon AZ.
The empty cross moves my soul to soar. But the cross, filled- that is sobering and sorrowing.
This year, sobered once again by the significance of the cross, Christ has revealed to me my prisons.
When I first became alive to the reality of Christ has done for me, you know what life I wanted most to avoid?
A life with a white picket fence.
A life in which I sought fiercely after normalcy and the ordinary. The American dream. I just finished reading Donald Miller's latest book, and in those terms- I wanted most to avoid a life with a flat story line, without inciting incidents, without obstacles, and without a vivid journey toward character formation.
That American dream was a prison I feared. A prison that would make me give up convictions and action and hunger for justice in the name of safe and normal and not rocking the boat. My idea of prison was a normal life, lived in the boundaries of a white picket fence.
Until about a year ago I thought I'd been somewhat successful at avoiding that prison. But then we couldn't get pregnant. I spent a lot of time grieving and working through the anger of the unfairness of it all. All I wanted was a normal pregnancy and a healthy child.
Now we're adopting and I've had to (and in some sense still am) work through the anger and the grief of having to miss my baby's early years. I'm having to work through the loss of all those normal things I wanted like the excitement of the pregnancy announcement, setting up the nursery, bringing home the baby for the first time, watching my parents rock their first grandchild in arms.
Don't get me wrong- I think the sadness is expected and healthy. But I don't want to get stuck there.
Because today I realize that if I don't move forward, these desires and this sadness will become my prison.
The longing for the ordinary, the dreaming about normal, and the desire to have the regular things everyone else has- they are their own prisons.
"prisons I have counted each / walls so high I cannot each /
Jesus Christ who died for me / gave his life so that I could be free"
What I will celebrate this Easter is that Jesus Christ gave his life so that I could be free from every prison, in life and in death.
And if the son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed! ` John 8:36
I will celebrate victory over sin and freedom from the prison of my own desires.
I will celebrate the story the he is writing with my life. I will rejoice in our adoption and in the face of our infertility because I have been given freedom from a boring storyline. I have a plot, an obstacle, an inciting incident. I have been given a story that will form my character. I have a story that will reveal- and is already revealing- God's glory.
Today I repent from the prison of my desires and I look forward to Sunday when I will rejoice in Christ's victory and the freedom it gives to me. I will count as loss every part of my life that is confined by a picket fence and pray for the grace to count as gain only the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
I pray the same for you in your journey. May Christ reveal to you as he has to me those prisons found in surprising places and bless you with the freedom to count only HIM as gain.