Saturday, April 19, 2014

Good Friday

The girls sang at the Good Friday evening liturgy and the choir sounded fabulous.  Solemn and beautiful.  It was a poignant service and I found myself in tears, trying to keep from actually weeping.  I felt incredibly moved contemplating the the crucifixion and the agony His mother and friends must have felt.  Through the procession to touch the cross tears streamed down my cheeks.

The lovely service also had a funny element, or so I realized afterward.  Earlier in the day, the girls had complained about going to choir yet again this week (multiple rehearsals, and long ones, too).  When I asked what they don't like about it, they surprised me and said that they don't like not sitting with me because they can't ask "how long until it is over."  (Oh and that's my favorite part of mass, of course.  Ha!)  So we came up with a code in which they would ask without asking by signaling me subtlety and I was to respond with my fingers indicating time.  Only, bad mom spy that I am, I was more focused on making sure that K sang while moving her mouth, as she seemed to be amusing herself by singing without doing so.  (Ugh. Yes, really.)  So when I got the signal, I smiled and moved my mouth widely back at them to indicate singing.  Crossed signals indeed.  They kept pounding their chests with the code, I kept opening my mouth at them like I was a fish.  As I write this I keep bursting into chortles of laughter.  Good thing we were (I think/hope) subtle.  When we cuddled in bed that night we talked about it and when I realized what the code actually was and admitted that I totally forgot it during the mass, they were gracious enough to see the humor in my fault and laugh and laugh with me.

Great kids.

Back to the more serious (though not necessarily more important):  Toward the beginning of Lent, I found myself reflecting on the challenge of finding God in the space between my need/expectations for an inspiring homily/Mass and the reality I was getting at our current parish.  Charles and I had talked about looking for another parish (we had a great experience with a friendly congregation in Santa Cruz a few weeks ago), but the girls vociferously objected.  That surprised us, as they didn't seem very excited about any element of their experience there either, but they said that they knew people there now and liked that.  Fair enough.  So one of my Lenten resolutions was to contemplate the space between what I longed for spiritually and what I find at this parish where spirituality seems reduced to obligatory actions performed without joy.

A Good Friday liturgy that moves me to tears is good progress, for despite the human failings of tones and language during the service, which make every celebration feel dismal, I also felt a great connection to Christ.  This time it felt almost physical as I contemplated His face on the cross and the seven last words, about which I have heard so many profoundly beautiful lay reflections over the years.  Another (related) Lenten resolution has been to orient myself toward that which is positive.  Where better to do this than in church, where human weaknesses will  only disguise God's great love if I consent to that focus.  By looking past that which I found most unpleasant and not allowing it to distract me, I was graced with beauty in the homily (despite the undeniably dreary tones with which it was delivered) and as a result ended up reflecting at length on the great love that Christ has felt since the day of the Crucifixion.  I wondered again, as I did when our friend Mary died, whether time as we know it is relevant to God.  If not, then perhaps our love and the love of so many who have attempted to model his teachings did sustain Him in some way upon the cross.

As a mom, I ache especially when contemplating Mary on Good Friday, knowing the unimaginable horror of watching her gentle and brilliant child tortured and killed for, as Douglas Adams says, simply suggesting that everyone be nice to each other for a change.  My hope is that she found some hope and grace to sustain her that day.

In the space that is Holy Saturday, still feeling the hunger, sadness, and joy of Good Friday, perhaps there is an opportunity to commit to ongoing resolutions.  My hope and prayer is that they become habits that sustain increased connection and ongoing joy for some time.

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