Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Friend Indeed

Last night Randi and I were teaching the 4th and 5th graders for Wednesday night "Merge". We needed a quick and easy lesson, so we decided to use the Resurrection Eggs.  (For those who don't know about these eggs, they each have a trinket in them that is symbolic of the different parts of the Easter story. A great way to teach young children about the story.)

 I was particularly reflective yesterday, so I'm going to assume that's why I'm STILL thinking about the praying hands egg. Rightfully, we always focus on what Jesus did for us and how the whole thing turned out with his resurrection, etc. But I found myself unable to let go of the disciples' feelings. The heartbreak and fear they must have felt is overwhelming. Even with faith in Him and what the ultimate outcome would be, they knew what they'd have to witness.

Jesus was going to die. His best friends were going to have to watch him die. I know they were his disciples - his followers. But they were also his FRIENDS.

Have you ever stopped and considered that? Until yesterday, I'm not sure that I really had thought of it in terms of friendship. I always looked at it as "leader/follower" instead.  I cannot imagine how bad they must have felt. He went off to pray and asked them to stand watch for Him. And they knew that these were the last hours before his death. They knew the next day was going to be horrible and painful. That there was nothing they could REALLY do for their best friend. They had to watch him be killed and humiliated.

Think about your very dearest friends. The ones you know you can count on no matter what happens. When life craps all over you, and you are at your lowest point, those people that offer the most support and understanding are invaluable. Think about how far you'd go to protect and care for those friends.

It just breaks my heart.  I would have been a terrible disciple. Crap - I AM a terrible disciple. (I hope I'm a better friend though.)

We've all had friends or family members who have struggled with illness, an accident or something that has brought them to the end of their lives. Have you ever sat vigil with someone while he or she was waiting for death? I have. You go through so many emotions. You don't want the person to suffer, but you don't want to lose the person either. It's probably the closest any of us could ever come to knowing how those disciples felt that night. And even in those moments, we cannot fathom what it would feel like to sit and wait while our perfectly healthy, vibrant friend prayed just hours before his violent death at the hands of people who just didn't "get it".  I'm afraid I would have reacted like Peter. I'd have cut off Judas' ear too.  And probably done much more than that to try to stop the events from happening.

But the heartbreak that would have followed - regardless of my actions - is what makes me stop and think. It's what makes the whole thing feel so real to me. And makes my heart hurt.

I am so thankful for my salvation. And so thankful for the sacrifice that was made for me. Now I'm also thankful for the disciples who endured something I cannot imagine with their closest friend.

Somber post, I know. But that's where my brain in on this Maundy Thursday.

(On the up side....  Isn't it great to know the "end" of the story though? They got to see Him again just a few days later - and know that he was ok?)