Well, this is it folks. It’s been great sharing my Lenten season with you. Bright Week has come and gone, and I just want to share a few more thoughts with you.
I wanted to write about all the services of Holy Week, and I didn’t even get through Holy Thursday. Well. Maybe next year. I did want to share a little bit about the SOYO vigil Holy Friday. Our SOYO (teen youth group), usually spends the night in the church on Friday night, reading psalms before the tomb of Christ. Typically, we put up a sign up sheet and adults sign up for shifts too, coming and going from the church at all hours. This year (remember the podcast by Khouria about the importance of preparing for Lent!), I failed to put up a sign-up sheet. And so, nobody did come this year. And only three teens could make it. So.
It was me, my son, Joey, and his friends, Jordan and Hannah. And it was really wonderful. I participated in the vigil last year as a SOYO parent, and took turns reading psalms, but at that time, there were several adults who stayed the night and sat awake in the church, ALL NIGHT LONG! I don’t know how they did it. Anyway, my point here is, I was with others the whole time, in the church. Not this year. It was just impossible for us to cover the whole night and stay awake (three teens and a middle-aged woman who loves to sleep?). No way. No how. So we took L-O-O-O-O-N-G shifts. Basically, two hours on, three hours off. That doesn’t sound long on paper, but when you’re reading psalms in a dark, quiet church, at three in the morning, trust me. It is.
Well, I have to say that it was amazing. First of all, most of the time I was reading, I was alone. Completely alone. The boys were sleeping in Father’s office and Hannah was up in the cry room, and it was just me and the psalms and the tomb of Christ and the Holy Spirit.
The church was silent, and my voice was both hushed and strong, ringing out into the silence of the church. I love the psalms, and I often say that they are beautiful, and many of them are, however, I don’t know if people realize that many of the psalms sound very militant. Here’s an example:
“36 You gave a wide place for my steps under me,
and my feet did not slip.
37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them,
and did not turn back till they were consumed.
38 I thrust them through, so that they were not able to rise;
they fell under my feet.
39 For you equipped me with strength for the battle;
you made those who rise against me sink under me.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs to me, 
and those who hated me I destroyed.
41 They cried for help, but there was none to save;
they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them.
42 I beat them fine as dust before the wind;
I cast them out like the mire of the streets.”
Wow! I don’t know as much about the Bible as I should, but I’m hoping this is metaphorical! Of course, there are also psalms of praise:
“1 I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.
2 Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.
5 I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.”
I also want to say that part of the amazing part for me is that three teenagers CHOSE to stay up most of the night, READING PSALMS IN CHURCH! Isn’t that awesome! Literally, as in “inspiring awe.”
Now that Easter is over, the midnight liturgy, the Easter gathering of family and friends, the malted eggs and peeps all gone, (still hiding a few peanut butter eggs. hee hee.), life has returned to normal. I no longer have to think about everything I put in my mouth, I no longer fix multiple things for dinner to satisfy the fasting and non-fasting members of my family. There are no longer extra services I’m trying to attend. But hopefully, I will carry this Lenten season with me now that Lent is over. Hopefully, I will carry with me the lessons I learned about myself and my relationship to God.
I have spent a lot of time working on forgiveness, both forgiving and being forgiven. As is so often the case, I have been presented with the opportunity to forgive someone who has wronged me and my family. This is not imaginary. This is a real, concrete and clear wrong. Done intentionally, and with the full intent of harming us, willfully and spitefully. Hmmmm. There is also a much smaller slight against me that I have been stewing about for a few days. Ironically, I was watching “Fiddler on the Roof” about a week ago, and the other night, after the first, more minor slight occurred, the song “Wonder of Wonders” got stuck in my head. And stayed there. And stayed there. And finally, it was gone yesterday morning. Then the big whopper came. The big, huge, serious wrong that has damaged us concretely. With clear spite and malice. And last night, the song came back. And I heard it in my head ALL NIGHT LONG, even in my dreams. And when I awoke this morning, I said, “ugh, why won’t this song go away!?” and then I remembered that I had prayed last night, asking God to help me forgive these people and to pray for them too, and I realized why I kept hearing the song over and over again! Here is the part of the song that was on autoplay:
But of all God’s miracles large and small,
The most miraculous one of all
Is the one I thought could never be:
God has given you to me.
And I knew that God had given them to me! To forgive, and to lift them up in prayer. And in lifting them up, I too, was lifted. And just like that, the song disappeared, and I couldn’t remember the sound of it even when I tried!
I want to end with a prayer here, but this is all I have (but perhaps, it’s all that’s really necessary).
“Thank You, Lord. Thank You.”