I’ve been looking forward to this Easter even more than I normally do. It’s because I feel the Lord moving through me more these last six months. There are new, wonderful people in my life and my connection with some I’ve known for years has grown deeper. I am truly blessed.
I remember back when I was a little Catholic kid learning the meaning of Holy Week. I had a hard time coming to grips with what was good about Good Friday. I thought it was sad. I was wrong. But I do remember my first Good Friday with the understanding of what happened that day. Luke 23:44 (NIV) says,
“It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon…”
I had been told of that and sometime in the early afternoon I remember a thick layer of clouds rolling in and much of the light went out of my little corner of the world. I was taken aback, if someone about four years old can be taken aback but I felt that it connected me with Jesus on that day nearly 2,000 years before. This Good Friday the sun dimmed again. Not as dramatically as before but it did, nonetheless. I took note of it and looked forward to church that night.
The praise and worship team picked amazing songs to play and PT’s sermon was pitch-perfect, as usual. I guess I looked at that service as the “launch party” for Easter weekend. It’s the most important days for believers like me. As the church broke up (remember “the church” is made up of the people, not the building they’re in) many assembled into little groups to chat. As I am new there and still don’t know a lot of the people, I made my way to the exit where PT saying goodbye to everyone. We talked for a second, smiled and did the “man-hug” thing and then I left.
In the twilight, on my last short drive of the night, I came upon a dad and his two young sons in a corner of their field near where I was driving. They were having batting practice. That made me laugh, yes out loud. Not only because I love baseball but it brought back memories of my dad and I doing the same thing, and my doing it decades later with my son. I said, “Thank you, Jesus.” As I later Tweeted out, “That put the button on my Good Friday.”
This morning I was up and out early for the men’s church breakfast that they do every fortnight. I got there a little early since I knew that they would have coffee on. The breakfast is so we can meet other men in the church and this morning I did. It was a man and his son. The father was a few years younger than me and the son was home from college. It so happened that he was just wrapping up a job search after being laid off back in February. He starts his new job on Monday and he told me about his successful quest.
Hmmm. Some might say that this was an interesting coincidence but I can’t. I don’t believe that things happen at random and haven’t for a very long time. When I learned that there is no word for it in Hebrew, it just reinforced it for me. I don’t know what, if anything, will come of it beyond meeting two new friends. That’s enough.
Leaving there I knew that I had to be outside today. The forecast said it was going to be sunny and 70-something and it was spring, for crying out loud. Life was being reborn all around me so I resolved that it was the Easter thing to do. I headed over to McKinney which I had driven through before but never explored. I grabbed my camera gear, headed over to circumnavigate the old town square on foot.
Carrying a camera on a monopod with a small shotgun mic on top is a great conversation starter. People are curious about what I’m doing with them so I chatted with a bunch of people including an ex-pat “swamp Yankee” and Red Sox fan, a guy getting ready to teach a course on barbecuing some amazing Texas beef and two mounted police officers. I told the cops how much I liked their town. One, a town native, agreed and added that he loved his job because he got to ride his horse all day. Come on. If that isn’t a Texan’s dream job what is? As I left I told them to stay safe out there.
Since I was close to my friends’ farm stand and had my shooting kit I ran up the road to get some b-roll for a short piece I’m doing for them. The manager, who has the weekend off, was there checking on how things were going. And the owner was running the show today and tomorrow. I love going there not only for the great fruit and vegetables, and my friends. For someone who’s primarily a city/suburb guy, it’s a side of life I don’t often get to experience. I like it a lot. I got to pet a pig and chase chickens around the yard.
I got my shots and headed back, sitting down outside now to put down these words and pictures. And the cool thing, for me, is that it isn’t even Easter yet. I’ve invited some new friends to church tomorrow. I hope they come, but even if they don’t I know that the celebration of our salvation through the resurrection of Jesus Christ is going to be amazing.
Thank you, Jesus.