Yesterday was Friday. Friday was a dark day. My Jesus died for me. We always have a service of darkness at Trinity UMC and it is one of my favorite services of the year. It drives home the point of it all - what Jesus did for me . . and for YOU. The large cross at the front of the church is always draped with black cloth. During the processional, the ministers enter in silence dressed in their black robes and the cross that is carried by the acolyte is draped totally in black. There are always candles at the foot of the old rugged cross (brought in at the end of the Palm Sunday service while the choir sings - very moving since at the beginning of the service the children were parading around the sanctuary with palm branches and we were singing "hosanna"). Last night the choir performed The Seven Last Words of Christ by Dubois. The scriptures were read and then the choir sang and a prayer was said . . .and after each of the "last words" a candle was snuffed out and then . . .and then somewhere (in the orchestra I presume) a hammer pounded a large nail - three times. This was repeated until the end . . .It is finished. The sanctuary was dark except for the Christ candle. Our senior minister, Andy, walked to the foot of the old rugged cross and picked up the light of Christ. Drew, one of our associate ministers, walked to the pulpit and picked up the large Bible that is there all the time. Drew walked over and stood next to Andy and SLAMMED the Bible closed. No sound in the sanctuary but that. No light in the sanctuary but the light of the Christ candle. Then Andy, leading the way with the Christ candle, and Drew following behind with the Bible held high exited down the long aisle. . . .in the dark . . . while the timpani beat out 33 drumbeats . . .oh, it hurt. It hurt so much. I need to be reminded of how much it hurt so that Sunday morning - whether it is raining or not - dawns gloriously - because Jesus is ALIVE. He is not dead as they suspected on that Friday night. They thought they had "snuffed" out his life much as the acolyte snuffed out each of those candles. BUT GOD (I love that phrase) BUT GOD had bigger and better plans. He usually does. Jesus is alive indeed.
We also had Holy Week noon day services and heard sermons three days (Monday - Wednesday). That means I have been fed spiritually every day since last Sunday (six days in a row). You would think that I would be "at my best" spiritually, right? Ha! The whole reason I originally sat down to write this post was because I am SO ANNOYED at my mother-in-law about a recipe. It is a ridiculous story but suffice it to say that I felt much like Deborah on the "Everyone loves Raymond" show. The problem is . . .I can't decide if she knows I'm annoyed . . .(she probably doesn't) and why in the heck it matters so much to me (control, I think!!!) For Lent this year I gave up talking about others - unless it was a TRUE FACT - and I have been pretty good. If I've started to talk about others, I've been able to stop (most times) or if I've thought about something I wanted to say about someone else, I've tried not to speak it. (Mark says I haven't been good but I think he is the one who has been talking about others - don't you love it? I'm talking about him right now!!) - so this week .. . .Holy Week . . .I received lots of spiritual nourishment . . .and resumed talking about others. I wasn't too bad - just a little one day about ONE person to my best friend. Just a little just now in those sentences above about my mother-in-law and my husband. YOU KNOW WHAT? It is sin and it makes me feel bad and grumpy and far away from God. And I am annoyed about it. I guess I am annoyed at myself which makes the whole recipe thing even more annoying . . .and also the fact that as Mark left for the farm at the crack of dawn on the one Saturday that I don't have to prepare a Sunday School lesson so I can sleep late . . .he proceeded to wake me AND DIDN'T EVEN APOLOGIZE. I hope you are laughing with me because I can't imagine that I am the only person in this boat alone. Paul says this in Romans 7:14-20
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
Yep - Paul and I could be friends. He would get me because I certainly get him.
So what have I done about it? I have searched the internet for at least two hours (YES - at least two hours!!!!) looking for this recipe. Have I found it? NO! Has it made me more irritated? YES. Have I prayed about it yet? Not very much. Have I told all of you about it? YES. What am I going to do about it now? I'm going to read my daily Bible passage and pray using my Lenten prayer beads . . .and dadgum it, then I think I'm going to make up the recipe!!!
Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. We are going to try to attend two services - traditional and contemporary (because we love them both and because after my sinful day . . .I'm gonna need 'em!!) Then we are going to Mark's momma's house to eat lunch with the family. I'm in charge of making Oriental Slaw (I have that recipe and can almost make it in my sleep - yum yum) (picture of toasted almonds, toasted sunflower seeds and toasted ramen noodles for slaw);
stuffed celery (I have already washed the celery and I have already made homemade cream cheese and olives and homemade pimento cheese for stuffing);
devilled eggs (eggs are boiled and cooling in the pot)
Green bean and artichoke salad (this is THE troublesome recipe) - I have the ingredients (most of them) and will make today . . either by the recipe she wants me to use or by the "old" one . . .that I don't have measurements for a couple of the KEY ingredients) (if you are reading this and you know my mother-in-law, you better keep your mouth shut - I love her to death and she is so very special to me and some of this is written
I'm also going to make four Easter baskets - Mark, Laura, Glenn and Lauren -- these are only a few of the ingredients (little house and CHICKLET CHURCH are table decorations!). I was excited to find Russell Stover DARK chocolate and coconut eggs for Mark (he gets an Easter basket filled with love even though I'm still irritated about that before dawn wake up thing)
Anyway, I've talked and talked and talked through these fingers of mine and I'm feeling a little better. I am thinking that if I spend a little time in scripture and prayer, I'll be a whole lot better. What do you think? I want this irritation to go away. I DO NOT like it. I feel like a cartoon character with little squiggly lines emanating from her. You know what I mean?
If anyone is reading this (and I know someone is because I am approaching 30,000 hits - who are you out there?), what are you cooking/eating for Easter? Do you struggle with these same kinds of petty sins? (which are just as big as others) Are you thankful for Easter? Did you attend any powerful worship services this week?
This is a day of waiting . . . and I am so looking forward to tomorrow morning.