Monday, March 26, 2018

Whose life is it, anyway?


Years ago, frustrated with life because it wasn’t happening the way I wanted it to, I found answers in an unexpected stop into a Good Friday ceremony at my parish.

Although it had been years since I’d attended Lenten services, I was tempted to go to church on Good Friday. Each time the idea surfaced, however, I dismissed it. After all, we planned to take the kids out for pizza and I wasn’t going to disrupt our agenda.

But that night, as we motored toward the pizzeria, I noticed the packed parking lot at our church, which was along our route, and it summoned me.

It was late. The kids were hungry. The service was well underway. But I insisted we stop.

We found space on the grass and parked the car. I slung the baby onto my hip while Joe grabbed Jenna and Lynn. Amid mild protests, we rushed across the darkened parking lot and slipped into the back door of the church.

A few empty seats remained, and we slid into them, blanketed by the reverence of the congregation. The church lights were dimmed, and radiance surrounded the life-sized crucifix on the altar, now draped in red cloth. I bowed my head in penitential prayer.

I remember nothing more than gliding into the worship of the assembly, but the song we sang moments later still resonates today: Abba, Father, I put my life in your hands.

Sitting in the back of that church, repeating that refrain, I was able to release my fears, doubts, anger, resentments and judgments. I realized, perhaps for the first time, that it wasn’t my life, but His life within me, that mattered.

I’ll never forget that day.

Maybe you were in that congregation that day. You showed me that we’re not alone in the journey. Perhaps you didn’t know what it meant to me, to be able to join you in worship. Maybe we can give this gift to others. Perhaps, this year, we’ll participate in a service that lifts another soul from the tarmac into the heavenly realms. Only God knows.

Abba, Father, I put my life in your hands.

I finally meant it.

Abba, Father, I put my life in your hands.

I’m trying to live it.

If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, you will save it. Matthew 10:39

Thanks for being here. This song, Control, by 10th Avenue North, says it all. Enjoy!

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