Over the years, I have noticed that Good Friday weather here in central Massachusetts has a tendency to follow the mood of the day. Somber, sad and often downright depressing. Even a day that has started out with sun will turn by mid-day. It would become overcast, even if there is no precipitation.
This year was different. The sun stayed out. No significant clouds were in the sky. However, it was not calm and pleasant. Easter is early this year. So rather than April showers and their clouds, we were treated to March winds as wild as any lion and their bitter wind chill temperatures.
So it was still a physical reminder of the days events for local Christians. The bitter wind a reminder of the bitter pain of crucifixion. The strength and wildness of the wind, a reminder of the chaos and pressures of human life.
I had gone to church Thursday night but I chose not to go on Good Friday night. Not because of the weather, although high wind is my least favorite kind of weather. I chose to stay home to be with my husband. He’s not as much of a “church goer” as I am, and he prefers to go on Sundays only (Christmas excepted). So on holy days I generally go alone. Holy Week has so many services that I think sometimes he feels like a “church widower.” And he did so much to help me earlier in the week, I felt God would understand. In fact, God would probably know that staying home to be with my husband was probably a bigger sacrifice for me than going to a brief church service would have been.
I will be in church tonight, though. The Easter Vigil service is my favorite worship service of the whole year. I love the progression of readings that demonstrate God’s deeds through the years. I love the kindling of the first fire of Easter, representing God’s light piercing the darkness of sin and separation from him. I love the hymns of celebration and adoration. I love the joy that permeates the church, with flowers and music and smiles, after the bareness and starkness of the altar that was stripped of all trimmings on Thursday night. I feel God touching my heart in an intensely personal way.
God has been so good to me through the years. He has not given me everything I want and He has allowed some things I loved to be taken away. But He has always given me what I need.
When my father died, when I was 12, I felt as if my life had been ripped away. God gave me strength and continued to try to reach my heart until I finally heard Him at age 17.
When I got fibromyalgia about age 13, God gave me strength and the medical intuition to learn how to manage it. He put the information in places where I would find it.
When I was a newly single parent, God gave me strength and the intuition to know where to look for a job.
When the furnace died, God gave me strength and placed the person who could solve the problem, at no cost to the single mom, in a class I happened to be teaching at the time.
When I was at my wit’s end after 10 years of single parenting and railed at God to “take care of me like He promised or leave me alone,” God gave me strength and, within a week, brought my present husband into my life.
I have been blessed at every turn. Every tragedy or problem has been turned around. How can I not be grateful? How can I not trust totally in God’s love for me?
As it says in Psalm 27,
The Lord is my Light and my Salvation, * whom then shall I fear?
The Lord is the Strength of my Life, * of whom should I be afraid?
So I will be there tonight and tomorrow morning to thank God for taking care of me every moment of my life.