Saturday, April 23, 2011

Great Friday

Turn to page 343.
Ha. Turn to page 21.
Ok. Turn to page 500.
Pshh. Turn to page 135.
(Picture of a nun kissing a goat) Turn to page 5.
Still following along? Follow closer and turn to page 255.
OK now, almost done. Turn to page 377.
This could be it. Turn to page 55.
Turn to page 299 for a big surprise.
Idiot. Hahahahahaha!

Did anyone else terrorize the church hymnal like this when they were young?

I hated church. I would sit on my knees and play with my wrestling figurines. Sometimes, when my mom was saying amen, I would crawl down the sloped floor under the pews to look at the panty hosed calves. I think I had some weird thing for pantyhose when I was young, this is twice in two posts I have written that mentioned it.

I would be wearing slacks; a word I have always hated, but understood exactly what it meant to wear. I would be sporting a sky blue ironed dress shirt with suspenders that had plastic hands masking the clamps that held them to my waistline. My mom always said to dress your best for church. Now, knowing she has lost the battle just begs me not to wear jeans with gaping holes in them. I think I will honer her and not wear those anymore. I never understood church though. I always saw it as a scary place to be. It least for a kindergartener. Everyone would sit there in the wooden benches shouting back as the pastor with huge sweat rings shouted at them. I thought he was mad all the time. If a dude was that happy about God, why doesn't he smile. I still don't know the answer to that question. I stayed away from church for the majority of my life after I was able to make the choice not to go. That happened sometime soon after I got my girlfriend in high school pregnant. People weren't too fond of me after that. Boys will be boys right?

I sat in one of those very same churches tonight for Good Friday service. Directly behind me was a widow. She spoke to us immediately, even before I tried to cover the tattoo on my forearm. Most won't unless I look the part. She sang the praise songs even though she didn't know the words as loud as she could 3 seconds behind the worship leader. She was learning the song as she sang. This is an important quality to have. Many try to learn the song in life before singing, too afraid to make themselves a fool. Not her, she sang out of necessity. Well played blue haired lady. People like you are my heroes. You see Christ in everything. How amazing is that?

I looked around and thought of all of those in our culture that get angry at the thought of God and especially Christians. I looked around at two distinctly different congregations of people with very different ways of doing things and just thought: "These are just people." People who profoundly love Jesus, but still just people. People that meet together in dark and musty, old paper smelling, matted carpeted buildings. They don't meet together to nominate the next king of the world. They meet to share their lives with each other. Sure, there are bigots and hypocrites, and judgementalists, but they are all just humans.

We eat cereal in the morning. We step in dog poop and maybe swear. It hurts our eyes to look directly at the sun. We get really sick, some fatally. We get overwhelmed with sorrow and question God. We mow our own lawns. We occasionally taste rotten milk. We are just people. People with pasts. People who miss their wives in Heaven...or our brothers. We are people who get bills we can't afford to pay. We are people that stare at photographs untill we fall asleep.

We are God's people. Undeserving of the sacrifice, yet all too eager to accept it. We are born again, regretful and fearful of our former lives getting a foothold in us again. We fumble on most snaps and sometimes we recover. But we are always forgiven. I say a lot of things on this blog. I fear that I don't say enough of how grateful I am to my Savior, Jesus, who died for me...but not only that, came to my heart and drew me kicking and screaming unconscious to Him. I have everything I ever wanted and never thought I was good enough to possess. I wasn't good enough. God is good enough. God makes me good. My sin is apparent to anyone that knows me. I am not one to try and be a different person to different people. But my prayer is that in all cases, people see the grace of God shine like the sun in me. I pray that no one would be able to look at me and not ask what is wrong with him? What is different? I fear I fail more often than not in those things. But God is still faithful.

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Thanks for reading...Z