For many reasons, this has been a sad week – the illness of Roger (see yesterday’s post) and watching his family deal with the seemingly inevitable conclusion to a long fight with cancer; and then today, the father of Pam, one of my clients from New Jersey, was put into hospice care. And we all know what that means. Not much more than a month ago, Pam’s mother passed away and, now, her Dad is approaching the end. While Pam openly acknowledges that since both her parents had Alzheimer’s, they have been “gone” a long time already, there is something so final about death and now she is facing the second time this year that a parent is very ill. And try as I might, the everyday things of the world seem to pale by comparison to these life changing events for the families and friends of those who are facing the end of life on this earth.
To be sure, it has been tough for me to navigate the regular stuff this week. I have made several important corporate decisions that, for some reason, have all transpired (and have far reaching impact) within the past several days. And I find my patience growing a little thin as I try to not confuse my priorities. Even Pat, our dear friend, is not feeling up to par, and Janet and I both fear for her health. She has already survived procedures that would have killed most of us. Oh, and by the way, our oldest daughter Kristin found out this week that she needs major surgery next Tuesday. My plate is a little full, and I just can’t find margin in my life to properly deal with all this. I can only be in one place at a time, and time is the one thing that I need more of. In fact, every once in a while, I just want to hole up in our home and forget about the rest of the world – tonight is one of those evenings.
I have even been approached about taking on a new client, and have decided to decline the engagement because I don’t think I could do justice to the need and maintain my responsibilities with my existing clients – and my loyalty lies with them. My Dad always taught me that you don’t trade old friends for new friends – and I really get energized by working with the people I have come to know and love through working together.
And that brings us to the ultimate sadness about Good Friday – the remembrance of the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion as a result of the efforts of the Pharisees and the leadership of the Roman Empire. Now we all know the end of the story – Christ’s triumph over death, but in the meantime, why do we call this day of sadness Good Friday? It’s one of those questions we just don’t ask – it’s always been Good Friday. In a way, it’s kind of like Maundy Thursday – and that’s tonight. In case you are not aware of it, Maundy Thursday, or some say Holy Thursday, commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus with His disciples. Traditional Thursday services also normally include the washing of feet by members of the clergy, remembering the washing of the disciples’ feet by Jesus. And we also remember the words of Christ in celebrating the breaking of the bread, and the passing of the cup, which we now celebrate as communion. Know why it’s called “Maundy” Thursday? Because “Maundy” means “commandment”, and Christ commanded the disciples to remember and serve on the evening of the Last Supper.
But this Good Friday thing? Why so good? Because it is the day that God accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, His own son, to satisfy the sins of the entire world. And I don’t mean just the living, but all those who would ever live! And, to be certain, after the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Man would have been eternally separated from God if He did not come up with Plan B – a way to restore Man’s fellowship with Him. Enter Jesus Christ – fully God, and fully human, to span the gap created by sin in the world. God’s plan to allow Man to be reunited eternally with the Father. So, a momentary “victory” for death – but only until Sunday, when we celebrate Christ’s triumph over death. And that’s worth celebrating. But more about that over the next several days. You will have to wait to read that post – but you won’t want to miss it!
In the meantime, my encouragement is that if you are ill – either physically, mentally or spiritually, God is aware of your need – and even if you don’t know what to pray for, the Holy Spirit has you covered and is already representing you to God in prayer, just as Christ is our advocate at the throne of God. And my prayer is that God will draw you close to Himself and comfort you during these trying times. It seems that the best verse I can think of tonight is, Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” And that happens Sunday – for now, I just need a little stillness……. How about you?