Tenebrae…

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We were a half-an-hour late to an hour-long Tenebrae service this morning.

I went to the service because I needed to go meet with God. And I went because they had childcare. I went to meditate. And I went so I could sit in silence for an hour without hearing my name.

Jesus was obedient to death on a cross, whereas, I spent all morning in my cozy pajamas turning up the heat, sipping my coffee, and grudgingly playing mother to three beautiful children. In one moment I can be the worst and best mother, the worst and best friend, the worst and best apostle. I am all these things, often at the same time, being made holy bit by bit even as God sees me as his perfect son Jesus.

And in the crowded hall, dimly lit and still, I find myself peeking out in facets from behind the eyes and hidden hearts of every character in the crucifixion story.

I lay palms with the crowds shouting “hosanna” for the king I thought was coming on my terms.

I refuse with Peter to be washed, not understanding, and owing enough already.

I sit with Judas at the table, betraying Jesus for any shiny piece of distraction.

I raise my sword with Peter, ready to fight, ready to bleed, more ready to do anything than submit.

I wash my hands with Pilate refusing to take responsibility for my part in all this.

I shout with the crowds in condemnation for not saving me the way I wanted to be saved.

I mourn with the daughters of Jerusalem, wailing for justice and comfort.

I walk with Simon, taking willingly my share of the cross.

I lie like Peter, moved to denial at the first moment of fear.

I stand with Mary in a corner recounting all the treasures in her heart trying to make sense of it all, because I, too, remember the story from the beginning.

I am the thief on one side demanding proof even as I die.

I am the thief on the other side begging mercy with my final breath.

I am the centurion who believes what he sees.

I am the Pharisees who don’t.

I stand with the mother now without a son.

I stand with the son now given a new mother.

I scatter with the apostles in fear.

I step up with Joseph and Nicodemus to claim his body.

I am the one who believed first, came to belief, and believed at last.

I have felt the earthquake, experienced the darkness, and stepped beyond the torn curtain.

I and the rocks have the very same thing inside us that cries out.

I am heir together with Jesus, perfect, even as I am being made holy.

And I grieve with the witnesses at his death, but it is too late. I have already taken his spilled blood and eaten his broken body. I have already ingested my need to have him up there, my need as deep as the grave. What choice do I have but to murmur with the crowd, “crucify him, crucify him”?

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