Saturday, April 07, 2012

i've got the joy

Every year, we sing O Sacred Head Sore Wounded as the final hymn on Good Friday. And every year, during the last verse, I cry. Last year, at the height of my maternity hormones while eight months pregnant, I was weeping by the second phrase of the first verse. The immensity of the sacrifice, of the sorrow and wrong just proves too intense and the tears well up and overflow. And I'm not alone: there are red eyes scattered throughout the sanctuary.

And then Saturday comes. Most years it feels like a lost day, a day adrift, locked in the void between sacrifice and death, and resurrection and life. A day where we exist, if you will pardon the pun, in limbo. A day of nothing. We lose our Lord on Friday and regain Him on Sunday: what to do with the time in between? Having not yet reached the celebration and Hallelujahs of Easter morning, it is a day which seems apart from joy.

But not for me, this year. Yesterday noon I stood in the choir loft and I sang out those same phrases of Bernard of Clairvaux, those same notes of Hassler and Bach, which every year before racked me with anguish and weeping, and sang joyfully. Not a single tear, not a single breath caught in my throat. And today, this Saturday of waiting, of vigil? I celebrate. I am filled with hope and joy.

Why? Because late Wednesday night and into Thursday morning I attended a birth. I attended a mother and father as they welcomed a second child. I witnessed such strength and courage and wisdom in that mother, perseverance and love as she worked her baby into this world of light and breath. I witnessed a baby fight her way from grey limpness to pink and fighting vibrancy encouraged by the skilled and loving hands of midwives and her parents, our voices calling out to her: "Come on, baby; come on!"

And she did. And she is beautiful and she is marvellous and she is a living testament to how wonderfully we are made.

And because after I returned home from worship I learned that my friend who has been waiting for new lungs and a renewed chance at a long, full life had gotten the call. That in the middle of the night, while my family lay sleeping, her family was kissing her outside an operating room in Toronto, holding vigil in prayer and supplication as she underwent the more than nine hours of surgery it would take to give her new lungs from a generous, loved, and never forgotten donor. Through that gift, her time in this world of light and breath and dancing now extended.

New life. New lives and resurrection. How, how could I possibly weep but for joy on these days? Because I see such evidence around me not only of the great and powerful and inestimable love of God for us, but also of that Love's working. The grace with which we are endowed by that loving Lord. And so I will sing out our Hallelujahs tomorrow morning filled not only with joy but with new and clearer vision of the purpose behind that Friday sacrifice. It is for joy. It is for hope. It is for love. It is for life, here and now and forever and ever.

This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.
                                                                     Psalm 118:23

1 comment:

  1. goodness in abundance - what a blessing x



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