Two days ago I was walking across the haymow with a small square bale in my hands when the floor disappeared from under me. The next thing I knew my elbows were cracking against the splintered edges of the boards and I was throwing myself sideways to keep from falling the eight feet down onto the steers who were already jumping around in fear.
Thankfully my injuries were minor compared to the possibilities. A large patch of torn skin on my shin and a bruise that stretched from my knee to my ankle was the worst I acquired. The only problem was that the torn skin, though it did not bleed terribly, is incredible sensitive now. The slightest touch of the softest material feels like someone is slicing it open with a sharp knife.
Oh, Jesus– this is the season we remember your sacrifice on Calvary. I whine over this small injury, but the truth is that You embraced so much more for my sake. When was the last time I stopped to think, truly, of all that you have done for me? The pain you bore to free me from sin?
Forgive me, Jesus, for taking your sacrifice for granted.
I slept so little, with every movement in bed wrenching me from sleep. My leg throbbed with pain. By the time Good Friday arrived, I was on edge and still tired. When I am exhausted, any little decision becomes overwhelming. Of the three options I had for the day, I chose none. Instead, I did laundry, worked on editing and then played piano. At the Cross filled the house, followed by Take Me to the River. I ended the musical interlude with My Redeemer Lives and my daughter came charging into the room to beg me to play it one more time.
I know He rescued my soul
His blood has covered my sin…
My shame He’s taken away
My pain is healed in His name…
Oh, my Redeemer– over and over You meet me right here in my brokenness. Right in the midst of confusion, exhaustion, and pain. Your grace, Your overwhelming love, lifts me right up– out of the muck, out of the mire. You set my feet on firm ground.
Teach me, Savior, to sing Your praises.
Mama showed up. She was just in the area, thought she’d stop by. Her presence always brings bubbly light. We talk about everything. We remember Grandpa Lyndaker and his faith that was so solid. We both cry.
I remember the way he would hold my hand and pray over me. The way he would tell me to carry on the faith, to speak truth, to love with everything— and “never, ever forget what Jesus has done for you.” One day I thanked him for being such a faithful Christ-follower. He wrapped me in his arms, the ones that had always been so strong but were growing thin from chemo and the cancer, and he told me, “Thank you for loving my Jesus, Tashi-girl.”
It was only a few months later that I spoke to him for the last time, the phone lines crackly and soft as his words traveled thousands of miles from Upstate New York down to the Equator. “I love you,” he said. I cried as I told him I would keep serving Jesus, keep loving people, keep speaking truth, keep living the way he taught us all to live– faithfully with humbleness. I wish I would have kept my promise better, but I’m going to keep trying.
Oh, Father, I love you with all that I am. I pray that tomorrow I can love you more than I do today. Thank you for giving me a grandfather who lived out his beliefs with such solid conviction. Thank you for the bond we had– not just as grandfather and granddaughter, but as part of Your body. Thank you for the way You spoke to Grandpa and the way he passed on Your words to his family.
Teach me to know You more, that I might leave such a legacy behind me.
After Mama left, I packed my girly into the van and drove up to the farm. Steam was already rolling out of the sugar-shanty and I could smell the sticky sweetness of maple syrup in the air. Friends were there and more friends arrived. We sat and talked and drew off gallons of syrup and laughed and prayed.
I passed out hot dogs, dripping with sweetness, and cups of hot syrup.
And I remembered.
Because the Eucharist is not really about communion wafers and grape juice. It’s not just round loaves and dry wine. Sometimes it is hot dog buns and sticky syrup in mugs. At least, when they’re being passed around between Believers and we’re all remembering what Christ did for us and we’re embracing Him and Truth and Hope and the Life that is to come.
Communion is the paring of two words, Community and Union. It is the sharing and exchanging, in an intimate form, of something– particularly on a spiritual level. It is us with each other, and each of us with God. And communion can happen at any time, with anything. All it takes is the gathering of those who desire the presence of Jesus.
Earth is crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes…
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning
As we went to leave, the stars were twinkling in the vastness of the sky and the quiet of the farm shimmered in the night. I breathe deep of the cool air and pray once more–
Author of Life, The God Who Sees Me, King of kings, Savior, Maker, Almighty God.
When it comes down to it, this is the greatest Truth I know. You are. You reveal Yourself to me through everything– nature, pain, life, people, memories, hope. Even through earthy brazen things like hot dog buns and syrup.
Teach me to see You, to hear You, to know You– not just in the moments like Good Friday or Easter, but in the everyday of life.