Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A New Tradition?

I'm a sucker for traditions. I love the comfort that sameness brings.

On Christmas Eve we go to church together, make a good Ukrainian lunch and watch It's a Wonderful Life in our brand new pjs. On Canada Day we put on our new Canada Day t-shirts and make our rounds to Lower Fort Garry, The Forks and Assiniboine Park to celebrate our awesome Canada. Pick a holiday and I bet you we have some dear-held tradition associated with it, so with Easter coming you'd think I'd be in my glory, what with new outfits, Easter egg hunts and family brunch after church.

You'd think but you'd be wrong.

I'm all squiggy and discontent and irritated with Easter traditions this year. These traditions feel hollow and self serving and somehow, on their own, missing the mark of what Easter really is about. I think all of these feeling may have something to do with that weird prayer I started praying (Lord, make me uncomfortable. Keep me from settling for a life less than Your best - however that looks.) In a thousand ways, God has answered that prayer -  a thousand uncomfortable, irritating and life disrupting ways. And I think my Easter traditions are just the latest casualties of this prayer.

A few weeks ago I began my annual search for a Good Friday Service to attend. Our regular church participates in a community service but I don't love attending it. My mom's church hasn't done a Good Friday service for years, my cousin's church does a really good service but the parking is terrible, there's the one we went to last year but it was kind of boring and didn't leave me with the emotional high I'd come to expect from a special service - yes, I know how snobby and petty I sound. I caught myself the first time had had this train of thought - or rather God caught me.

Service. Service. Service. Serv-ice.

Serve Us.

Um. Ouch.  I was looking for a place that would serve us. Serve our needs. Make me feel warm and fuzzy and reflective of the sacrifice of Jesus, without having to, you know, be like Jesus. I had a moment of realization of how consumer focused I was being while trying to find a church service to attend to commemorate Jesus dying for my selfish hide and I was humbled and ashamed. But God din't leave me in my shame. Instead He spoke straight to my heart and corrected my selfish views. It went something like this,

"Service? Serve us? The greatest act of service that Jesus ever did for you was to die in your place. If you want to commemorate His act of service then do one of your own."

Well, okay then. I spent a week trying to figure out what that meant and then my lightening fast mind realized that maybe it meant I should find someone or someway to serve. I've spent the last week emailing and calling different organizations who help the marginalized people of our community - and no one wants our help. Like seriously, I can't get any takers. I still have a couple of emails out there but it's not looking good, folks.

So this morning, as I was pouting and wigging out and complaining to God about how I wanted to help but no one would let me, He got to me again.

What's stopping you?

No one wants me.

Poor you.

Thank you.

No, really. What's stopping you?

I don't have an organization to partner with. I don't have time to go through the application process. All of their spots for helping are booked.

And …

Well … I can't help.

I'm sorry. You don't have a van? And built in volunteers? And some spare cash? You can't buy some muffins and hot chocolate and drive your poor self downtown to hand those things out? Oh, poor you.

Ok, yes. God is sarcastic when He speaks to me - He meets us where we are at. Don't judge me. And yes, I have a van and a family willing to do Any Crazy Thing and I can afford a few dozen muffins. So what's stopping me?

It's inconvenient. And scary. And weird. And uncomfortable.

Oops. Didn't I pray for that last one?

Okay. So, here's the deal, unless one of my free floating emails returns to me with some kind of place to serve, Mr. Awesome and I will be loading the Wee Ones into the van and driving to downtown Winnipeg to hand out hot chocolate and muffins.

Not because the homeless of Winnipeg need me but because I need to remember that it's not all about me, that Jesus died for me and for them and that makes us the same. I need to remember that the best way to honour the sacrifice Jesus made is to live like Him, everyday.

If you are in the Winnipeg area and want to join us message me … who knows, maybe this will be our new tradition.

I have shown you in every way, by labouring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
Acts 20:35

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