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Mary Biever | One Writing Mother | Tag Archive | Easter
Tag Archive - Easter

A Better Friday

2-good-friday-service-singapore-2009-church-of-the-holy-spiritphoto © 2009 Bernard Oh | more info (via: Wylio)
Earlier this week at a family lunch, I realized I was the Rodney Dangerfield of wives and mothers of teens. I didn’t feel like I even got respect from the family cat. It was my Unholy Week of disappointment.

Then the tipping point came – a comment about my hair. Fine – I left our house as a mom on a mission. I called my hairdresser and got an appointment within an hour. When I got to the salon, I learned the receptionist had misunderstood who I wanted to cut my hair and scheduled me with someone else. My stylist was off for the day.  The sub stylist, upon learning who usually cut my hair, was worried she didn’t have time to do it right. They asked if I could wait longer for a different sub. I left.

But I was on a mission; I would not return home until my hair was cut. I phoned a friend and posted on Facebook, “Who can I find to cut my hair right NOW?” My friend returned my call and said she would cut it if I could wait an hour.

So I went out to dinner alone, steaming the food with my angry mother evil eye glare. How dare they make me this angry during Holy Week? Forget about Easter dinner! I wanted to take a Calgon Getaway Cruise for mothers on Easter Sunday – not an easy thing to find in Evansville, Indiana. So I imagined a land flowing with cheese and chocolate, where I was given flowers all the time just because, I looked like I did 20 years ago when I got married, I was appreciated, and everyone knew I was always right.

My wannabe vacation plans had to stop so I could get to my haircut on time. Half an hour after my haircut began, I returned home with a new do by a new stylist and 4 fewer inches of hair on my head. When I walked in the house, I told them, “Didn’t like the hair? Problem solved.”

Angry mothers, especially of the fighting Scot-Irish variety to which I belong, don’t generally elicit charming sweet nothing responses from their family. So I threw myself into my work, taking care of clients and business instead. My husband was taking care of his business, and I would take care of mine. It was not a pleasant couple of days.

Then Holy Thursday services began. My son was a server, and I was his designated driver. As my son handed towels to our priest as he washed the feet of 12 in our congregation, God grand slammed me with a baseball bat of realization.

The first Palm Sunday, the crowds cheered Jesus. When He washed those feet, He knew what would happen. He would get no respect. His friends would fall asleep when he needed them the most, one would betray him for money, and another would deny him. The crowds who had cheered “Hosanna” would scream “Crucify him!”

He didn’t cancel the first Easter because they didn’t deserve it. Jesus didn’t cancel the first Easter because I didn’t deserve it. We sang last night that there was no greater love than a man who would give his life for his friends.

He loved us and gave us – gave ME – the greatest gift of all time.

Now it’s Good Friday. Besides honoring His greatest gift and remembering His sacrifice tonight, I’ve got some planning and cooking to do.

As S. M. Lockridge says in this video, “It’s Friday. Sunday’s coming.”

I’ve got an Easter feast to plan and prepare for and with my family. They deserve a kindler, gentler mother. And a better Friday.

Family Life During Holy Week

Good Friday Childrenphoto © 2008 John Asselin | more info (via: Wylio)
Palm Sunday reminds us life can change on a dime. The crowd that chanted “Hosanna” on Sunday screamed “Crucify him” within days. Sounds a whole lot like parenthood.

This week, our family tries to slow its pace so we can contemplate the week that changed the world:

  • A Palm Sunday of celebration
  • A last supper where Jesus Christ washes feet and institutes the first and most important supper
  • Agony in the garden
  • His crucifixion
  • An Easter vigil as we wait for the Resurrection
  • The Resurrection and celebration of Easter Sunday.

As a Catholic family, this is the most important week of the year for us. We make our faith journey along the way of the Cross. Each step is vital so we understand the difference between the small celebration of Palm Sunday and the victory dance of Easter Sunday. Which part of the Passion would we choose to skip?

This will be my 14th Easter since my conversion, and many parts of Holy Week still seem new to me. When I first sought to understand it, Maria von Trapp (of the Sound of Music)’s book, Around the Year with the Family  helped me. I devoured the European traditions and incorporated some of them into our family.  When we adapt a centuries-old tradition into our modern family, I feel a kinship with other families of faith around the planet and across time.

Once upon a time, our Palm Sunday included an annual Seder Supper followed by an all-family viewing of The Ten Commandments. Now, our schedule doesn’t allow the Seder Supper, and our teens don’t want to sit through the whole movie. So they will see parts of it over family pizza, while Richard and I continue our own tradition. I still dye Easter eggs alone, as my teens are too sophisticated for kid stuff.

We’ll still be at Holy Week services, and all week I’ll smile at memories of Holy Weeks past – the year my kids won the chocolate at the Seder supper, the year the Bishop washed our feet and gave us presents – and how my preschool son tried to turn his papal rosary into a lasso immediately afterwards, the year my daughter won the bunny at the church egg hunt, and more. Then I’ll savor my son’s serving at Holy Week services and treasure each moment because these, too, will 1 day be a page in our family’s memories.

Shakespeare once wrote we are such stuff as dreams are made on. Holy Week is the stuff of which memories are built and families made.

Chicken Little and Golgotha

Rooster in grass.
Image via Wikipedia

Pullus Parvus, otherwise known as Chicken Little, lived in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.  He was the best of all possible organizers, the top cluck, and he knew it.  When he crowed early each morning, all the other chickens in that tiny Roman province followed his lead.

One morning as he crowed, the people were shouting so loudly he had to crow twice as loud and long to signal all the other chickens that it was time to begin.  Strange – a crying man ran past him a little later.

Then the sky over the whole land suddenly grew dark. 

Chicken Little panicked and thought, “The sky is falling.  I will stop it.”

So he crowed and he clucked and he asked all his friends to crow and cluck with him.  If they made enough racket, the sun would return.

It stayed dark.  The earth began to shake and tremble.

Chicken Little panicked and thought, “The ground is going to split in half.  I will stop it.”

So he crowed and he clucked and called all his friends to join him.  As the earth trembled, they scratched and scritched, trying to hold the ground together, but they couldn’t stop it.  Chicken Little called out, “God, give me the power of Samson to stop this so I can hold our world together!”

It was still dark when a young chick squawked to Chicken Little and told him the curtain in the temple was tearing in half.

“I can’t allow that to happen,” said Chicken Little.  He sent word to his friends the sparrows to go to the temple and hold the temple curtain together with their beaks.  They failed.

Chicken Little was flat terrified.  He couldn’t make the sun return, he couldn’t stop the earth from shaking, and his instructions to the sparrows had failed.  He was out of control.

So Chicken Little fled the town of Jerusalem for the hills.  He hid on a hill, behind a bush, afraid of what would happen next.  He didn’t crow, for he was ashamed.

Three days later, he got scared again.  There was a huge rumble and a great light.  This time, he didn’t try to stop the rumble or return the sky to its normal color.  When the light became normal, Chicken Little decided the sky could not have fallen.  The sun was back.

He picked and clucked his way out behind the bush and saw Roman soldiers fallen to the ground. A tombstone had rolled from a tomb, and Chicken Little went inside.  He saw an angel sitting there and asked the angel,

“God made me to crow and keep all the birds of Jerusalem together. 

“But the sky turned dark and was going to fall.  I tried to stop it and failed.

“The ground shook and was going to split.  I tried to stop it with my friends, and we all failed.

“The curtain in the temple tore in half.  I tried to fix it by telling the sparrows what to do, and they failed.

“How can I ever believe in myself again?  How can I feel safe?

“This morning, the sun turned bright, and there was this rumble, and I did nothing because I was afraid.

“The sun is back in the sky, the sky did not fall, and the ground did not split.

“But I will never believe in my abilities again.  I am mad at God too – why didn’t He help me?”

The angel looked at the poor bird and told him, “Oh ye of little brain.  When the sky turned dark, God was with you.  When the earth shook, He was there too.  This morning when you saw that light and heard the rumble, it was the Son – not the sun.  He rose from the dead to save all mankind.

“This is a day for the birds to sing.  One day, at the end of the age, the sky will seem to fall.  Nothing anyone or anything does will change that.  We cannot worry about it now.  The Son, the Savior, just won the greatest battle of all time.

“Go, find your friends, and tell them to sing, cluck, and quack in honor of the King of Kings.”

Chicken Little scooted out of the tomb just as he heard feet running .  He summoned all the birds of Jerusalem to sing a new song and rejoice, for the Son of Man had saved the world – not Chicken Little.

After that day, Chicken Little still crowed every morning to summon all the other birds to the start of another day.  But when he crowed, he didn’t crow of his own power, or in pride of what he could do.

He crowed in honor of God.  He could use his talents to proclaim God’s glory but could not use them to play God.  And now Chicken Little knew the difference.

Christ taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”  Sometimes when we try to stop the sky from falling and earth from shaking, we don’t know the big picture and don’t realize the hand of God is already there. 

When it happens, ask Him for guidance.  He will guide you as the Holy Spirit brings you peace.  As Jesus told the leader of the synagogue in Matthew 5:36, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

Happy Easter.

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