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The Good In Good Friday

What God was doing in that dark and confusing time was powerful, what Jesus did between Friday and Sunday is where the love is revealed and where God’s commitment to us is put on display.

Good FridayI remember feeling confused about Good Friday when I was little.  My parents would often keep us home from school and we would go to a midday worship service.  Nothing about the service seemed “good”.  Everyone always seemed sad and melancholy.  The pastors talked a lot about death and sin.  Then there was the awful accounts of Jesus being beaten and hung on a cross, the anguish that he verbalized and the despair that seemed to be a part of his final moments, until he eventually suffocated and died there, alone.  Again nothing seemed “good” about any of that.

As a kid when I thought of a “good” day, it probably included playing outside, eating ice cream, being with friends, no fighting, just laughing and enjoying life.  Good Friday didn’t seem to be that kind of “good” day, there was nothing laughable that transpired.

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Hope

firery furnaceWhen I was in middle school I was having a hard time at church.  There were some conflicts going on between myself and some of my best friends who attended the same church and it had tainted my outlook on the church itself.  It was just before Christmas and I remember talking with my mom about not attending any more and starting to look for a new church home.  My mom was supportive, but we had also grown up in this particular congregation and she continued to encourage me to have faith that the hard time would blow over.

I remember going to a celebration at our church called “Jesus’ Birthday Party”.  It was just before Christmas and was to remind the families and kiddos of the church that Christmas is at its roots a birthday celebration.  Craft tables and activities were set up, and the teens had been asked to come and help the littler ones make there way through the stations.  I was in a rough spot that day, and found myself in a corner practically in tears.  Then God showed up.  Okay well not actually God, but I do believe that God was a part of it.  A little girl that I had babysat regularly when she was tiny came up to me even though it had been years since I had taken care of her.  She gave me a hug, took my hand, and ask me if I would help her do one of the crafts.  When we were done at that station, she led me to the next, and then the next. This small act of grace and connection changed the tide for me.  I felt God’s presence in our interaction even then as a middle schooler.  It seems so insignificant and silly now to recount it, and yet it was absolute significant and life changing in that moment.

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Holy Spirit

“Holy Spirit is ‘the source of life’ and brings life into the world—whole life, full life, unhindered, indestructible, everlasting, life.”

above the stormEach of us knows them.  Those individuals that somehow always seem to ooze joy.  It doesn’t matter the circumstances or the weather, the difficulties they are facing or the stresses of the day, they always seem to have their head held high and are able see above the storm.  They seem to know something that the rest of the world is missing, but what is their secret.

I have always been enthralled by the work of the Holy Spirit, recently I have dived back in to listening to the reflections of great minds on this person of the Trinity.  Right now I am consumed by the words of Jurgen Moltmann in his book “The Source of Life: The Holy Spirit and the Theology of Life.” In it he says, “For the Holy Spirit is ‘the source of life’ and brings life into the world—whole life, full life, unhindered, indestructible, everlasting, life. The creative and life-giving Spirit of God already brings this eternally living life here and now, before death, not just after death, because the Spirit brings Christ into the world and Christ is ‘the resurrection and the life’ in person.” I love this!  I believe this! When I remember this truth, I can overcome anything that the day throws at me— tantrums, to-do lists, tragic world events, rude drivers—nothing seems to get me down.  Freedom exists in the words above.  The Holy Spirit is in our midst constantly and offering us life, life like we have never known before.  Each of us can embody this truth more and more each day, by not allowing our anxieties and our fears to overcome us, but recognizing instead that God is bigger than all of them.  With the gift of life that God offers, nothing can stand in our way. 

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