Easter Sunday. It's one of those days when folks dress their best for worship. Even today, there are still hats and gloves (at least on one little girl I saw). I'm not against putting on one's best. In fact, I think it's a good idea to get dressed up every now and then. However, I struggle with the societal standard set to do it at certain times. And, how folks look at you and think about you if you don't meet the standard. I don't mind not meeting the standard (though I did meet it today, out of freedom to do so). However, my daughter hasn't quite gotten to the place where she can stand up for herself and not let it get to her.... or has she? Actually, she probably has. She is her own person, even at a young age. And, has been for several years. Today's outfit was supposed to be a nice, new multi-colored pair of shorts with a new top. I didn't learn until this morning that the tops were all in the dirty clothes. So, I tried to pick out some outfits that I thought would work and give her a choice. A couple of skirts that she picked out, some cute shirts that are really t-shirts, and a top, capri outfit. Nope. None of them would do. Absolutely not. She wanted her smiley face t-shirt, nice jeans, and belt. I finally gave in. Why not?! It's really the inside that matters, not the outside. That is what I really believe. So, why was I going through all this anyway? Because it is Easter Sunday. The day we are supposed to dress up. But, what does dressing up have to do with Jesus' death and resurrection? I'm not sure. I don't think it has any connection. I do want my daughter to learn societal standards, but she's going to have to learn to live into her own skin, just like I'm having to do, just like we're all having to do.
I was frustrated with having to deal with the whole clothes thing. But, I was also frustrated because it caused me to wrestle within myself over how I believed on the outside things and the inside things. I don't consider it a battle and who won. I offered choices, choices were rejected. Not without some thoughtful dialogue. My daughter wrote me a note, letting me know that I hadn't asked her how those clothes might make her feel and how it really needed to be her choice. So, I guess she can be okay with her choices, even at an early age. I just hope society doesn't snub her or talk bad to her. If it does, I hope she can handle it.
On to church where in Sunday School we talked about the topic of grace and finished watching the last in the series of The Grace Card study. We've been using this study for the past several weeks and watching clips from the movie and discussing the questions.
Then to service where we heard more about grace. The kids sang, musicians from the praise band and orchestra played, the choir sang. The pastor talked about grace in a variety of forms. But, the most powerful was at the end where he set up a clip from the movie The Grace Card and showed it. That was a powerful moment of extending grace and forgiveness.
Though I had an invitation and a place to be for lunch, I declined because of this morning's craziness. I wasn't going to be good company to be around today. Dealing with kids can wear you out. And, then after church, I felt like I would be less of good company to be around today. So, I'm glad I sent regrets earlier, though I know I missed a wonderful afternoon.
On a beautiful Easter Sunday, I feel like I'm in a rabbit hole. It may just be a feeling. But, it's there. I know I desire to be a person of grace, a person that lives out a life of forgiveness and reconciliation. To me, I think I am. But, I don't know. I reach out to others, but I'm also self-centered and selfish. I don't always see the needs around me. Some times I get it right; some times I get it wrong. I guess that is where grace comes in, hopefully where grace abounds.
In the red book of "A Guide to Prayer for All God's People", there is a prayer for Easter Sunday by the Mozarabic Sacramentary that brings today into focus:
"The Day of Resurrection has dawned upon us, the day of true light and life, wherein Christ, the life of believers, arose from the dead. Let us give abundant thanks and praise to God, that while we solemnly celebrate the day of our Lord's resurrectioin, He may be pleased to bestow on us quiet peace and special gladness; so that being protected from morning to night by His favoring mercy, we may rejoice in the gift of our Redeemer. Amen." (149)
"quiet peace"-- I need more of that in my life.
The Benediction for Easter Sunday says this: "Lord Jesus, I have heard your knocking at the door of my life. Come in and abide with me. I throw open the door to you, my Lord. Come in! And never leave me. Amen." (148)
I know that God has been knocking today, from this morning until now. I wonder, is it one of the rooms I have tried to keep closed off, even if I've been unaware that I've been guarding it and have it closed? Can I not simply surrender the areas that are going to be easy to surrender? Sometimes I think I'm fully surrendered. Then, God reveals the next layer. God knocked. I'm not sure what's there to find, but the door has been opened to allow Him in to abide.
May grace and peace carry you on your journey,