Friday, March 21, 2008

It is indeed Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, March 21.

Last night I went to the Maundy Thursday service at my home church, where I was baptized in 1972. It was a joint service of the four United Methodist churches in my town. My minister, from the "large downtown" church I now attend, did the homily. It made me weepy, knowing that he will be leaving the ministry in a couple of months.

We had a joint choir as well, in which I sang. It has been about 35 years since I last sang in that choir loft but it felt like home. The song was a medley of "Be Still My Soul" with "You Raise Me Up."

Tonight I returned for the Tenebrae service. I felt so much love in this old church -- so many people still there whom I knew in my late teen years. There was a young family sitting behind me with two toddlers who were noisy -- obviously a distraction for many of the old folks there. I was trying hard to ride it out and was doing pretty good. All of a sudden one of the little ones was crawling beneath me, pushing through my legs! Mom slipped up behind me and whispered "I am SO SORRY." I just turned and told her not to worry. Jesus himself wanted the little children to come to Him, so tonight of all nights was not the time to be sending them away. Sure, the service is always "very nice" when it is observed in the intended silence and solemnity. But life is messy and loud and unplanned, despite our planning. Later, at the end of the service, Dad came to me also to apologize. I took his arm, looked him in the eye, and told him it was OK. They belonged there too. I know many of the older people wish the nursery had been open, but you know, we all survived fine.

Last night, there was a man in the mixed choir that I immediately recognized. Balding, with a white goatee, but I still knew him and asked him to tell me his name to make certain. It was a man who is on a waiting list for a heart transplant. The last time I saw him, I was in high school and he was one of the kids in the children's choir that I taught. I taught him the song he sang as his first solo in church. When I heard about his heart condition after moving back to town, that song immediately flooded my soul and I have sung it often as a prayer of intervention for him.

Tonight we walked into church at the same time and he asked me what the name of that song was. I told him, and then sang it to him. (This is soooo totally unlike me to just start singing to someone I hadn't seen in 35 years. I can't remember ever doing it before.)

Here are the words:

He Held Out His Hand to Me

Like a child in the dark,
I was so afraid
Looking over the mess
in the life that I've made.
But the Lord saw my fear
and He heard my faint plea,
And He held out His hand to me.

Who am I that a King holds His hand out to me?
Who am I that He gave up His life for me?
But the Lord saw my fear
And He heard my faint plea,
And He held out His hand to me.

He started smiling and singing with me on the second line. We were both smiling, but had tears in our eyes. I knew he hadn't quite remembered me last night, since I am a few years older, but tonight -- tonight I know he knew me.

My car is still in the shop being repaired. I now expect it to be finished on Monday. There have been delays in getting a door that will work and then in getting the trim pieces. So I still have the new rental car. I miss my car. I will be glad to get it back.

May God bless each of you this Easter as we celebrate His resurrection!


Beth said...

A beautiful story, thank you for sharing it. I feel like I was at that service, I could imagine the children and the music and familiar faces. I think I needed to feel that.

Erudite Redneck said...

Re, "This is soooo totally unlike me to just start singing to someone I hadn't seen in 35 years."

Very cool. :-)

Trixie said...

Yeah, so be warned next time I see you!!

Erudite Redneck said...

LOLOL! ... Next time you know yer coming this way -- mid-April or later (hell week this week, so can go to Denver next week) -- lemme know and we go get chicken-fried spinach at Ajanta!

Anonymous said...

I hope you had a lovely Easter! :)

TECH said...

Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing, Trixie. I hope your Easter was truly blessed.

Anonymous said...

It might still be A good Friday, but it's been a week, too. ;)

TECH said...

Love this post, but darlin', it's time for a new one!