A chilly wind kissed my cheek this morning as we met in the dark to run. Although it is Holy Week, there is still snow on the grass, puddles are covered with a thin layer of ice, and all the roots stirring beneath ground have yet to show their colored faces.
I have been looking for him.While running the canyon Saturday, I noticed how glorious the world was. New snow had fallen and all the trees were delicately clothed in white. As I breathed the sharp air and struggled up the hill, I thought, if he can make this kind of beauty, do this with the earth, what could he do with my life if I put him first?
“My soul looks for the Lord more than sentinels for daybreak. More than sentinels for daybreak let [us] look for the Lord.” -Psalms 130:6
Saturday we drove to my Mom’s to cut branches for our Easter Tree. Just some trimmings. But we call it a tree, with its dozens of blossoms aching to burst open. Maybe by Easter they will have bloomed pink? We can hope.
Ali gave her first talk in Church yesterday. She wanted to bring our Easter Tree for display and talk about three of her favorite pictures, one of which was the Triumphal Entry.
I’ve mentioned before how I wish we Mormons gave more collective attention to Holy Week. While we try to celebrate Christ all year long, we don’t have any special services during the Passion Week. So I was thrilled Ali wanted to talk about Palm Sunday. We typed up her talk, and practiced it five times. As she began her talk, she couldn’t say the words without me whispering them into her ear, but bless her heart, by the end, she was reading them right off the page.
She finished with her own thoughts – what she knows to be true: “I know Jesus is real. I know He died for us. I know I can live with Him some day. I love Him because He is my Savior.”
Holy Week is my favorite week of the year. I love every Holy Day.
Yesterday, Palm Sunday, we read about the Triumphal Entry and watched a few videos from biblevideos.org. If you haven’t discovered this resource, now is the time. The LDS Church recently put together an amazing series of videos depicting the Savior’s life. Each is 2-7 minutes long. Short and beautifully done. A real gift, I think, to the Christian world. This week we will watch a couple a day. I haven’t always loved the actors that play the part of Jesus in various films, but this Jesus is excellent. His voice, his demeanor, his strength, his emotion. He plays the part wonderfully.
This is one of my favorites.
I did a little research about Palm Sunday last week. Did you know the Sunday before Passover was the day Jewish families selected their paschal lamb? Isn’t it significant and striking that Jesus came into the city on this day, when lambs without blemish were taken from their flock, and there in the midst of all this choosing came the Chosen? Jesus, riding kingly but innocently to his death. God’s divine lamb of sacrifice.
Tuesday I am hoping to attend the temple, in remembrance of Jesus’ cleansing/healing in the temple before his death. I won’t go into detail about Mormon temples here, but I will tell you we believe in temple worship, just as God’s people did in ancient days. Temples are places of peace, light, and renewal. We make covenants there to love God above all else, and to care for His children with selflessness. I haven’t been to the temple in months. Breaking away from children, leaving the duties of home, and finding childcare is not easy. I am still trying to figure out the how-to, but I am determined to make it happen this week.
Trying to take a group shot in front of the Temple two weekends ago. Trying was the key word. I call this Rowdy Reverence.
On Good Friday we will read about Peter’s Denial, Christ’s suffering, and the Crucifixion. We will have hot cross buns and do our Easter Walk.
Saturday we will decorate eggs, then hang Easter Lanterns in our tree – to burn brightly into the night, in anticipation and waiting for the Lord’s resurrection. Our own Easter Vigil.
Easter Sunday we will read about the Resurrection, do traditional baskets and chocolate, and attend church service.
The girls have been making Easter books. They took up this charge on their own. Sami’s story is pictured in the first photo above. And this is Eliza’s story, The Lion and the Lamb. It’s a darling story about a mother bird who loses two of her baby chicks and… a teapot. The Lion and Lamb, who are best friends, set out to help her. Lion finds the baby chicks sidled up to a sleeping bear. Carefully, he brings them back to their Mommy, who is “so releafed to have them back in her arms.” Lamb finds the teapot, which was stolen by a sly old fox. The story is delightful. I love her sweet artwork and the way she pieced together a plot and resolution.
Mostly I love that it is about lost things being restored to us, and how incomplete we feel without them.
Almost daily I have to remind myself to look past the mess, the disasters. (Like the fact that my boys just sprayed all our Easer decorations on the mantle with Windex.) I have to stop myself, get off my weary feet, sit for a minute and watch. There is so much beauty to see, so many faces to love, so much to feel grateful for.
And it is all possible because of Christ.
Now an excerpt for you from John Masefield’s poem, The Everlasting Mercy. It spoke to me this morning.
…I kneeled there in the muddy fallow
I knew that Christ was there with Callow,
That Christ was standing there with me,
That Christ had taught me how to be,
That I should plough, and as I ploughed
My Savior Christ would sing aloud,
And as I drove the clods apart
Christ would be ploughing in my heart,
Through rest-harrow and bitter roots,
Through all my bad life’s rotten fruits.
O Christ who holds the open gate,
O Christ who drives the furrow straight,
O Christ, the plough, O Christ, the laughter
Of holy white birds flying after…