IMG_3417

I’ve had a cold this week. And my husband has been working out of town and I’ve still had six people to take care of in between the coughing bouts and the sneezing and the poor-me-my-head-hurts moments.

It kind of felt like suffering, but even while I was in the middle of feeling sorry for myself I knew I didn’t really get suffering.

And on Good Friday, when I’m thinking about the Jesus of dusty roads and mountain sermons and upper rooms, the Jesus who carried a wooden beam to a hill of death, the Jesus who was stretched and nailed and lifted and who died in plain view of family and friends and enemies… on this day, like no other day, I know I don’t know.

If I’m honest, I don’t want to know. I don’t know how Paul could have written that, really, and actually meant it. He said it more than once, so he must have.

I’m not a theologian, but I can google.

… that I may know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Philippians 3:10-11

Here’s what I see in this verse. I see the resurrection part (see, he says it twice) bracketing the suffering and death part, and that seems important to me.

I think I see this. I think the power of His resurrection comes first in this verse because that’s the power that takes me through my life. That’s the power that takes me through the ups and downs and the challenges of faith and eventually, hopefully, to faithful death. Faithful to the end, like Him, and then the beautiful resurrection, like His.

This is what I think on this Good Friday, while the spring rain falls cold – funeral weather – and the cross is in the back of my mind. I think the fellowship of His suffering begins with first accepting the power of His resurrection.

It’s backwards or upside down, maybe, but that’s what He does. That’s what His death does. His resurrection surrounds it all, even death.

That’s Good Friday.

Yes, it is spring and there are still mountains of snow on the ground. My husband is worried about flooding. The children need and the house needs and the goats need. There is more need than there is time or money. In big mental piles in my brain are the school work and house work and relationship work. And soon we will be up to our eyeballs in spring mud.

You understand.

I’m not complaining. I don’t think I’m complaining. These are not things stressing me or keeping me awake at night. These are the realities of my day-after-day, and I am challenged, at times, to look up from them. Way up, as the giant on one of those old CBC children’s shows used to say.

To look way up, and to really see.

Today I look up and I see a cross. The sight of it stops me, holds me still. I’m a bystander at an accident scene. Only it’s not an accident. It’s on purpose, for a purpose, and I’m shocked out of my silly smallness. I’m looking up, I’m really seeing, and it breaks me. I look over and I see a mother, weeping, and I weep with her.

Michelangelo's Pieta, which I would dearly love to see one day.

Michelangelo’s Pieta, which I would dearly love to see one day.

A year ago, on Good Friday 2012, I wrote the following:

Today is a Good Day, because today I do not have to watch my son die. I don’t have to watch him, hurt and bleeding, carry a heavy piece of wood up a hill. I don’t have to witness crowds of people making fun of him. I don’t have to see soldiers nail him to a cross or lift his hanging body into the air. Today, I don’t have to watch my son die.

Ah Mary, it seems like just yesterday I was with you in the stable, celebrating his birth. Today, I’m with you in the nightmare.

While the soldiers were looking after themselves, Jesus’ mother, his aunt, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her. He said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that moment the disciple accepted her as his own mother.

John 19:25-27

Today I have a cold. My head hurts. I’m sitting at the computer, dull and listless, waiting for the Tylenol cold medication to kick in.

Today is a dreary day. The temperature has dropped and there is snow in the forecast. I’m worried about the mamma goat who is probably going to have her baby today. I’m worried about the other babies who were born this week. I’m worried about the group of kids that are traveling here from Regina to spend the evening with the kids from our church. I’m worried about our friends who are coming to visit us today.

Today I have company coming and the house is a bit of a horror because I’ve been delivering and nursing and mothering baby goats all week. And oh ya, did I mention I have a cold?

But today is a Good Day, because today I do not have to watch my son die. I don’t have to watch him, hurt and bleeding, carry a heavy piece of wood up a hill. I don’t have to witness crowds of people making fun of him. I don’t have to see soldiers nail him to a cross or lift his hanging body into the air. Today, I don’t have to watch my son die.

Ah Mary, it seems like just yesterday I was with you in the stable, celebrating his birth. Today, I’m with you in the nightmare.

While the soldiers were looking after themselves, Jesus’ mother, his aunt, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her. He said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that moment the disciple accepted her as his own mother.

John 19:25-27