This is undoubtedly one of my favorite seasons in the church year. The journey to the cross happened 2000 years ago and during the Lenten season we get to go on that journey as an observer. Every service we attend is centered around the ministry of Christ and what he’s doing day to day. It’s arguably the time of year that I feel most close to Christ as my Lord and Savior.
Like every year though, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday must come. The day our Lord is hung on the cross and tortured for hours and hours. Church services on these days have always reminded me of a funeral service. Everyone is dressed in black and there is little to no socializing like we get on typical Sunday mornings. They’re very somber in tone and can even bring tears to my eyes. There’s joy with these services as well though.
I will never forget the Maundy Thursday church service of my freshman year at Concordia. I went to a church in Cedar Park with 2 of my friends. Since I didn’t have a car of my own I asked my roommate, Mike, to drive. He as usual had no problems with this. Service ended on the very quiet and somber note that it always does on this night and we proceeded to the parking lot in silence along with the rest of the congregation to leave. It was a particularly warm evening so we rolled the windows down. Out of habit, Mike plugged his iPod into his car jack. The car automatically read the iPod music and played the first song on shuffle; a very explicit song by Dr. Dre. The glares that were shot our way were terrifying and neither Mike, Liz or myself could seem to get the music to stop. Needless to say we were very embarrassed at the time. We left the church parking lot as fast as we could and after we got about a mile away, Liz and I turned to each other and just laughed harder than ever while getting a glare from Mike.
It’s an embarrassing story but I share it to share two points. The first is make sure your radios are off and your windows are up before leaving church on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday. The second point is the main point. This service was somber in nature and left us feeling pretty down. But five minutes later we (mostly) were able to laugh and share joy with each other. Seven years later my friends and I can still laugh about this story. I don’t doubt for a second that this “accident” was a message from Christ saying “have joy knowing that I am your savior and that I’m coming back on Easter Sunday.” So remember that as Good Friday approaches. It isn’t the end, it’s a joyous beginning. Laugh, celebrate, and praise Jesus in all you do this Lenten Season.