Observation 1: Each year as we enter Holy Week, aside from all the funny looks I get from people when they hear we haven't celebrated Easter yet, I find the walk to the foot of the cross is up a very steep hill.
Observation 2: Some of my children don't like walking uphill.
Observation 3: Sometimes I don't like walking uphill!
Here we are with Pascha (Eastern Orthodox Easter) just a few days away. This year has been extra hard for some reason. My resolve to limit myself, follow the prescribed fasting regime and focus on Bible reading and prayer has not been strong enough to sustain me past the first week. I mean, I kind of limited my computer time...when I felt like it. I avoided animal products...except when I didn't. I read the Bible and prayed...every once in a while, or when my husband reminded me.
Last night we attended the Holy Unction service with all the children. We ruled the balcony:) My youngest son and one of the babies sat with his "new" godmother (the wonderful woman who the Lord provided while his godmother was dying as the new prayer warrior for him on earth). Because of this, the first twenty minutes of the service were lovely and I was able to do some soul searching. Then my son needed to come sit with us again because his body was too bouncy from the grape soda he had found and consumed the night before. He was very upset that there would be no food after the service and informed me that FOOD was the reason he comes to church. At this point we hadn't even made it back up the stairs to the balcony yet. I went and got a picture book and two magazines from the church library and cloistered myself, with my son, in the cry room and read a story about a saint and some articles about missions while the Gospel reading came through the walls sounding much like Charlie Brown's teacher. I missed the service, but I didn't want to miss the service.
Holy Unction is when each person in the church is anointed with oil for spiritual and physical. I know I have the need for healing and I get glimpses of that need when I humble myself. But last night I felt like I kept bungee jumping off a cliff with no bungee cord, landing scratched and bleeding at the bottom and then climbing to the top to do it again. The moments where I could be calm with my son I was climbing. Then he'd do something inappropriate and I'd jump off the cliff. By the end of the service I was "wholly weak". I was starting to get it. I have to be weak in order for Him to reveal His strength. I know everyone knows this, even I know this, but when I get into this cycle it's hard to remember.
These last few days are powerful! We experience the betrayal and death of our Lord, we enter the tomb with Him and come proclaiming His RESURRECTION!
Dear Jesus, help me, a sinner!
I pray for Your mercy upon my heart as I face each person and situation. You are merciful to me, unworthy though I am,
and You provide the only peace that will truly calm my heart and mind. Come to my aid, O Lord, so that I will not
lash out at those around me. Remind me in those moments that it is You, not I, in control and
that You, not I, have overcome the world. Oh Lord, help me to embrace becoming wholly weak so that I may receive the light of Holy Week!
Grant me your peace and quietness of mind that I may surrender my will
to Yours and live my life for Your glory.