Friday, March 25, 2016

Darkest of Nights: On Fear and Peace and Welcoming People in Their Pain, Sin, and Disbelief

Last year on Good Friday.

I put this picture up and captioned it: "Coming back from church at two in the morning. We signed up for an hour to "keep watch" and read a section of the Psalms. Jake, the priest, pulled a cushion off the pew for the children to rest on and we read and prayed the whole hour. It was like nothing I've done before. Beautiful and somber. I love being part of a church that's unafraid to meet in the middle of the night on important days and to remember in a powerful way and I love bring part of a church that ain't scared to make a place for it's tiniest parishioners when Holy Week makes bedtimes slightly irrelevant."

Everything I said was true and was felt deeply in my heart, but another thing, the thing I was still much too afraid to say out loud, made the night even more significant- not only were my small children welcomed in the praying of the Psalms, so was my unbelieving husband. He's ironically the one who wanted to do it and when he signed us up, Jake didn't give him the side eye or question his motives.

You see, that's the beauty of a church truly teaches the Theology of the Cross. There are very very few qualifications. Peyton was welcomed in the pews, welcomed at the altar, and welcomed that night. Why? Because none of that is about him.

I will never forget the way we were met right where we were. I never ever felt like my Big!Emotions! were too much for anyone (pain and suffering is very real and tears are healthy, y'all). I very rarely saw even a raised eyebrow over my children's sometimes atrocious behavior (the problem of sin, guys). And nobody seemed shaken or even especially alarmed and certainly not too fretful about Peyton's skepticism (because sovereignty, folks). Your theology matters because it effects everything- how you deal with broken people, small people, uncertain people. I saw this manifested in such tangible ways.

A friend told me tonight that she thinks we don't spend enough time with Jesus's words "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" Damn right we don't. We are so often so afraid to do so.

I think about the community that loved and welcomed us at Calvary-St. George's literally every day and I carry the peace I learned there when dealing with my sometimes overwhelming anxiety, my children's sometimes atrocious behavior, and the fear that sometimes plagues me when thinking of my husband's skepticism every day as well.

There are very few things I am more grateful for in my life than this church. But one of them is the Cross it consistently pointed me to.

I am so, so thankful Peyton and I will get a chance to walk down this street, sit in those pews, and come to that altar in just a few weeks.

What a beautiful, scandalous night.

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