Wednesday, March 27, 2013

For this reason...

"Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say-'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again."  John 12:27-28

This is the first year in 3 that I am not in Honduras caring for little girls who have just come to us.  Instead, I am in the US caring for my father in VA and my sons here in Atlanta.  I have been reflecting on how Holy Week is different for me now.  In fact, my experiences in Honduras have changed my whole outlook on Lent and Holy Week.
I remember my first trip to Honduras in March, 2007.  We returned to the US right before Holy Week.  The day after we returned I was in church where we were "doing Lent" in the normal way.  I was just about jumping out of my skin.  I wanted to stand up and shout, "NO!  You are doing this all wrong!!!"  I couldn't really articulate why but our traditional approach to Lent didn't fit anymore.  
Here I am again, feeling out of place in the traditional Holy Week observance.  I am not sure I can explain it but it goes something like this...
This is the collect out of the Book of Common Prayer for Holy Wednesday:
Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Traditionally we focus on Jesus' horrible suffering.  We suffer along with Him, we take on the burden of our personal and collective sins that led to this week.   The atmosphere is increasingly gloomy and sad as we get closer and closer to Good Friday.  Speaking only for myself, I suppose that I needed that week of focus because my life in the US has always been so easy, so good.  Even at the worst times, life here is easy.

However, I find my perspective has changed in Honduras.  Life for the vast majority of Hondurans is not easy. Ever.  It is the promise of the Resurrection that gets them through each day.  His glory is revealed in the gift of a mission team's love, a donation, a scholarship, a bag of food given because Christ lived among us, died, and rose again.  The miracle of Easter is tangible.  In that sense, Lent and Holy Week are reminders of the great abundance of God's love for His lambs.  It has become a time of deep joy for me...a time to reflect on the myriad of blessings in this life and a look forward into the next.   I marvel at God Emmanuel, walking among us.  I think about the enormity of what He did for us and why.  I can't wait to get back and serve Him alongside of my hermanos and hermanas in Honduras!

So this Holy Week, I am not wringing my hands, weeping, drooping from the burden of guilt and regret.  This year I am shouting with joy, basking in the blessings showered upon me through grace and grace alone.  Tomorrow, I will celebrate Billy's "golden birthday" (he will be 28 on the 28th) instead of going to church.  I will praise God for Billy, Hunter, Meagan, my family, LAMB, Honduras, my friends, and everything else He has done in my life.  I eagerly await glorious Easter.  I am so very thankful that it is for this reason, for you and for me, that we have this week most Holy.