This year, Good Friday was different. Fridays are typically my day off, so I had plenty of errands to run that morning. One errand was returning maternity pants to Old Navy. I found them on clearance and snagged them knowing I wouldn’t need them for a while. Now I won’t need them at all. It was then that I received a text from my campus minister from college telling me that he was thinking of me. He said something that really stuck. “You know, Mary lost her kid today too.”
“You know, Mary lost her kid today too.”
I never thought I’d relate with Mary in that way. I’ve always admired her from afar, but now I feel like I know her. I empathize with her. I have a deep connection with her. This year when I heard the text from John 19:30 I felt something real. “When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” How must Mary have felt when she watched her child disappear before eyes? I wonder if it was the same way I felt when I heard, “I don’t see a heartbeat.”
I can’t stand when people rush from Good Friday to Easter, and I make that no secret. People who post “Christ has died, but Sunday is coming.” Seriously? Jesus is dead, and we killed him. Yes, Sunday is coming, but they didn’t know that back then. Mary didn’t know that. Nobody knew that! Sit in the discomfort of that day!
On Holy Saturday James and I went to an Easter Vigil at All Saint’s UMC. It was beautiful. These days it’s a special treat when we get to worship together. With me serving full time at Hayes Barton and him so involved at All Saint’s it feels good to embrace the Eucharist together every once and a while. The service was so nice. It started with the brokenness and death we all feel during Good Friday and Holy Saturday. This service forced us to be in a community of believers who could embrace the darkness. They didn’t rush to the exciting part. I’ve pondered over the popular quote, “We are Easter people living in a Good Friday world.” Maybe that’s true, and maybe it’s not. Maybe this service was so special because people frequently refuse to admit that we do live in a Good Friday world. Maybe if we live into the darkness we can finally appreciate the light. As we shared in song and liturgy, James and I felt heard. These were people who could admit that life was hard.
The service was structured to go from dark to light. Finding light was when I started to have trouble. We entered the sanctuary to gather around the font and baptize a new sibling in Christ. I love infant baptisms. Babies seem to know so much more than we do about the spiritual world. As I said my vows to support and embrace my new sister in Christ, my eyes filled with tears. I had hopes to baptize our baby, but baptism is a sacrament of the living and our baby never got to live.
I started thinking more and more about the first Easter. I wonder if I actually do know how Mary felt. I mean, she obviously has a one up on me in that her kid was the Messiah. And she got to know that her child was risen right away– or did she? The first Easter had to be weird. This Sunday I curled my hair and wore a salmon J.Crew dress. Mary was probably confused and still full of grief. I know I am. Neither of us would be able to hold our kids anymore, and thats where I’m finding myself this Easter. I cry when I try to be happy, and only find comfort when relating to the mother of Christ. I tried to paint a smile on while at church, but my only true comfort was during the meditation of worship. The silence, the eucharist, the organ, the songs. Sometimes the light isn’t something you see. This Easter it was something I could only feel.