How to Face the Day

By Katie Kinnison

April 3, 2015

It is Good Friday.  The day of the worst thing imaginable, the day people killed God who took flesh and dwelt among us.

What do we do on such a day?

Here's the short answer: we feel.

In our culture we are taught to numb the pain, to run away from or deny or block or override the pain.  If something is "bad", we are taught that we can choose not to experience it, not to let it touch us,  and we are given a hundred ways to cut ourselves off from reality.  There's shopping, alcohol, gaming, tv, frantic exercise, drugs, business, overwork, earbuds and more.

Please don't do that today.

When we numb ourselves to pain, we also -- without meaning to --numb ourselves to joy.
If you cut yourself off from the reality of this day -- from the cruelty of which we are capable, from the ways in which fear drives us toward brutality, from the pain that is inflicted upon the innocent by the  tragically broken  --you also cut yourself off from the reality of Easter.  There is no resurrection without death. 

It is a basic fact of our existence:  there is both pain and joy in life.

It is a basic tenet of our faith:   we have to die to one of being in order to live into another.

I started my day off by watching the news, by hearing  again of the horror at Garissa University College in Kenya.  I let it into my heart, and I prayed to God.  Oh, my Lord, did they feel your presence?  When some young person admitted he was a Christian, and a man in a black mask put a gun to his head, did the college student cry out 'Why have you forsaken me?" or did he feel your arms around him?  Oh, dear Lord, be with him now, let him feel you now.  Be with that woman who hid under the bed for thirteen hours, listening to gun shots. Be with her now.  147 dead.  Oh, dear and gracious God, be with them now, and hold their families.  Keep them, keep us, from hatred, from being trapped in anger and in fear.  Help us to break the cycle of violence, and to believe -- to live --- that Love wins.
In just a little while, I am going to be with more than fifty children who are coming to hear the story of this holy week.  They will want to know why we call such an awful day "good."  I will tell them the story, the whole story, and I will say that we call this day good because Jesus keeps loving, because God keeps loving, because sin and fear and cruelty  and death are beaten by a Love That Knows No Bounds.

It is pretty easy to sing triumphant songs and say that Love Wins.  It is wretchedly hard sometimes to believe it and to live as if it is true that Love Wins.

I am learning to live that Love Wins by feeling whatever comes, by opening my heart to the truth of this moment as I receive it, and to look for and rest in and struggle with our mysterious and powerful God of abundant and steadfast love in whatever reality there is in front of me.  I am here in Good Friday today, and I look for Easter.  God is in both places, and I would be with God.

Tonight, at our church, I will find that I am not alone in facing the pain of this day.  I will find myself in the midst of community, a community of broken people who are capable of brilliant love.  With them, I will find what I need to face this day.  The body of Christ, these followers of a risen Lord, will help me remember the story of who and whose I am.

In life and in death, I belong to God.  In life and in death, I am held by Love.  So are you. So are we all.  

Knowing this is how I face the day.
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