Monday, April 13, 2009

Interruptions

"After the Sabbath, at the dawn of the first day of the week..." Matthew 28:1

The holiday weekend is past, leftovers of feasts are packed in refrigerators, and for folks who have children the cookbook "101 Ways to Serve Hard-Boiled Eggs" would probably come in handy this week.

On Friday, I was blessed to attend one of the most unusual and impacting "Good Friday" services. Our Pastor warned us the prior Sunday it would be "different" and some might find shocking, but I could not imagine the power of the illustrations.

As my friend and I entered the dimly lit sanctuary, the first thing we noticed was the casket - showing the horrible reality of what we call "Good" Friday was for the followers of Christ - a death of all they believed and held on to. At that time there was nothing "good" about what had just happened. How could they possibly be encouraged to hope for something "good" in the broken and lifeless body of their teacher and friend?

The service included emotional dramatic expressions by His "friends" as they shared how His "life" had changed theirs but now His death...?

As the audience sat somber and reflective, without warning noise was heard coming from the hallway behind the sanctuary. It was as dishevelling as a cell phone ringing during a critical scene in the theatre. And then...

the doors burst open and in came a dozen or so, sign-carrying and shouting people -

"He was a liar! You see He is dead! Where is His power - how do you feel now?"

Men (who were part of the "funeral party") stood up and ushered them out saying what you would expect "have some respect for the family, this is a funeral."

Interrupted

We were all "spiritual" sitting there in church on "Good Friday" thinking of our "God" things like you are supposed to - and then our thoughts were abruptly interrupted. Although during our regular "spiritual" activities (quiet time, Bible study, prayer) there will (hopefully) never be a group of strangers bursting through the doors shouting at us "He is a liar - why would you believe in Him now" the internal work of the enemy "interrupting" is still there using similar phrases designed for each one of the followers to wonder "why" and to question the Truth of "good", on our Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays every month and year of our lives.

The enemy interrupts
The risen King instructs -

The last words His disciple Matthew records are "Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life ... I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age." v. 18-20

Whatever real or circumstantial "death" we face this Monday after celebrating "Resurrection Sunday" we have been instructed to "go" and we are reassured He will be by our side through it all. He will be there at funerals and births, baptisms and beatings, weddings and days divorce papers are signed, deposits and withdrawals; home purchases and foreclosures; day after day after day.
I cried Friday night as the "pall bearers" carried out the representative casket. My friend and I turned to each other and said "what happens now?" And while we were referring to the actual program - it remains a valid question of faith. What does happen now? How do we respond to those we know (and even ourselves) facing "Fridays" filled with loss and doubts, and truly live and share knowing the truth and power of "Sunday"?

Tomorrow my oldest son and I are driving to San Antonio to Brook Army Medical Center to help promote the upcoming Joni and Friends Warrior Retreat in May. It will be his first experience and I know life changing. We "go" please pray. We know we are victorious - in the end, but every battle has it's casualties - pray the presence of His Spirit to heal the wounded, and bind up the broken-hearted.

Serving after Sunday
And finding the Monday reason to smile!