During my morning quiet times this week (which I've managed to accomplish most days), I've been reading through Psalm 27 and a little of the book Reliving the Passion by Walter Wangerin, Jr.
The book was sent to my husband from a friend who had taken a class from Wangerin and fell in love with his writing. Me, too... loving his writing that is.
This particular Psalm is speaking to me where I live today. It reminds me of a statement made in an apologetics class I once took. The teacher was talking about the challenges people make to the Gospel and living the Faith. One of the accusations often made was that Christians use their faith as a crutch. We were then taught to refute that statement, which seemed fine at the time.
However, thirty plus years later I have a different answer then that suggested by the teacher. My answer? You betcha! Perhaps not great grammar but definitely Truth. Having met various trials and tribulations through the years (more than the average bear), I have come to realize it is only through using Jesus as my "crutch" that I'm able to survive. Forget the crutch... he's been my walker and wheelchair! Why is having a crutch a bad thing?
Psalm 27 has reminded me of this with words like, "The Lord is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?" and "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.". Once again... faith, patience, experience, and hope... all because I can lean on Him, holding on for dear life when the winds blow.
Wangerin's book has also led me to the cross, as it was intended. How lovely are his descriptions of that week... the most important in the history of the universe. Angels held their breath. All creation groaned. What is happening? Did anyone else know the Plan other than the Trinity? One wonders.
This book was to be read one day at a time starting on Ash Wednesday. I didn't steal it until last week. He may get it back someday although I never did return The Valley of Vision. There was one particular paragraph that took my breath away and came back to haunt me in the hours which passed.
"The difference between shallow happiness and a deep, sustaining joy is sorrow. Happiness lives where sorrow is not. When sorrow arrives, happiness dies. It can't stand pain. Joy, on the other hand, rises from sorrow and therefore can withstand all grief. Joy, by the grace of God, is the transfiguration of suffering into endurance, and of endurance into character, and of character into hope-- and the hope that has become our joy does not (as happiness must for those who depend upon it) disappoint us."
I will put together a small Easter basket for a young man. I will bake a ham (I wondered once to my Jewish friend why we Midwestern Christians serve pig at Easter... she just smiled). I will do that which Mothers for a thousand years have done preparing for that Day.
But in the early morning next Sunday as the sun is coming up... I will consider. I will Remember (Do This in Remembrance of Me). That week. The week. Holy week.