Sunday, April 16, 2006

a different look at easter

Easter totally came and went and tumbled right by me this year. (I can see the value of maybe trying to observe Lent next year...)

To be honest I've been stuck in church-inertia the past few weeks and have found it difficult mustering the desire or energy to go. I know it's at those times I need most to reach out and connect with my spiritual family, but the inertia has been strong this time around.

I had a majorly hard time hauling my butt outta bed for the day of prayer on Good Friday at my church. I actually skipped out on the first half of the day. But as usual, at the end of the day, after spending the afternoon in talking with others and God, it was exactly what I needed. It was so good to get out of myself and look to others and the world, bringing their needs before God in prayer.

The Good Friday service was appropriately somber and good to remember that this is the day that God died (thanks for the wording, Joc...). It's the day that Jesus, God's son, was cut off from his Father God for the first time since he had been in perfect communion with him since the beginning of time and creation. All so that I would not be cut off from God.

I still feel shallow in my understanding and experience of this, but I suppose this the essence of the faith journey is a lifetime of rediscovering and tasting this truth in new ways. It amazes me that when Jesus came back to life and appeared to the disciples there are times they simply don't even recognize him ("they were kept from recognizing him" Luke 24:16) and it's only "until their eyes were opened" (Luke 24:31) that they can recognize him. I think that's a cue I can take in praying for myself and others, that eyes would be opened to see Jesus as he really is. No amount of trying harder on my part, or on the part of others, can bring those spiritual "aha! I see!" moments.

Easter Sunday our Eastside and Westside groups convened as one church downtown at the Roundhouse Community Centre. I basically ended up missing the service altogether as I was putzing around greeting and directing people, and helping Carla with lunch and Lee Anne with the Easter egg hunt for the kids.

As much as I craved being able to simply rest and take in the service, I quite enjoyed myself participating in other ways. Being outside in the hall away from all the action, there were moments of quietness I found myself having a spirit of prayer for various parts of the service as they went on and for specific people as they came to mind.

After the Roundhouse, we headed back to our home base at the Westside building for Camper's "graduation" (i.e. ordination) service. When I walked in, the room was filled with the fresh scent of lilies. After all the hustle and bustle of hosting everyone at the Roundhouse, coming back to the Westside felt like coming back home. It was like having a party at the Roundhouse for the community, then coming back to the Westside was like having a coffee to really relax after all the guests have left.

That feeling of "ah, I'm coming back home" is one that I think I needed to feel to remind me in light of my church-inertia what I am really missing. I have been given such an amazing gift of friends and spiritual family. "My command is this: Love one another as I have loved you. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."


jocelyn said...

I have always found that when I get "church inertia" (thanks for the wording justine!) it is because for some reason I have not had that connection with my church community for awhile - either I'm serving too much, working(studying) keeps me away, or I plain old haven't turned up at church inawhile - which means that it is a vicious circle that can only be broken by me just sucking it up and going...
but he always rewards me for doing so...

enitsuj said...

yup, you're totally right about that! fortunately I have too many people in my life that won't let me get away with it for too long and call me out of my hermit-hole when they see me retreating...