Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday?

Last night we had a Maundy Thursday service, also called Tennebrae service. As the words were read telling us of Jesus' final hours, I was convicted of my guilt. I would have left Jesus, too, as his disciples did. We had communion as individuals, each going up and serving ourselves to reflect the "alone-ness" Jesus must have felt. It was hard to do. As we left the dark sanctuary in silence, I wanted to stay silent on the way home and into the evening.

This morning our church had a Good Friday service. It was not dark as the sun was streaming in the windows. We sang and listened to more of the story of Jesus last hours. But what got me weeping was a monologue from Mary's perspective. Mary, despite the special mother/son bond all mothers have with their children, had to give him up to share with the public, not only for a very public ministry, but also a very public death. What pain for a mother!

"I was there. It seems like I always was… From the very beginning, from the day he was born I loved him. I held him in my arms, and everything in my heart: from the praise of the angels to my own questions and longings for what he would become. He and I belonged to each other, my son and I, but it wasn’t long before I had to share him, to give him up.

“I must be about my Father’s business”, he said – and what was that? Jesus had to belong to the people, even to the tax collectors and prostitutes; they needed him. They needed his stories, his healing, and his preaching. He was everything to them – just like he was to me. Then the time came where even they had to give him up – it wasn’t fair! His time was so short, too short. No mother should have to watch her son die.

When Jesus was still a baby, Joseph and I took him to a temple. There, an old man named Simon told me: “a sword will pierce your heart”. I couldn’t have known what he meant. I was so happy then, so proud of my beautiful son… I think I have an idea now. This grief will stay in my heart like a piercing wound, but my son left me so much more than that when he died. He gave me a family. Everyone who loved him, everyone who feels that sword of grief with me, we are the ones who belong to each other now.

And then, we as a church were once again confronted by our guilt of betrayal, this time in a monologue written by and delivered by my son Adriel. I found it very moving and was once again in tears.

I am the betrayer.
I am the weak.
The liar.
The violent.
I am the rock, upon whom the church will be built.

I am Peter.
I was there:
His friend; his brother; his servant.
On his deathbed, his final hours, 
He called to me,
And James, and John.
His final hours:
“Stay here and keep watch with me?”

In agony;
He prayed—
For we were asleep.

Could we not watch with him for one hour;
On his deathbed,
Pray with him?

“He is at hand that doth betray me.”
“I shall lay down my life for thy sake;”
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee,
The cock shall not crow, til thou hast denied me thrice.”

 I am the blind,
The deaf.

“He is at hand that doth betray me.”
Nay Lord!
I shall not pray with you.
I shall not sit with you,
On your deathbed,
In your final hours!
I shall take action.

Wherefore I sleep,
Wherefore I rise,
I lent him not mine ear.

 “Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake?”
Nay Lord,
I shall flee.

“He is at hand that doth betray me.”
“I know not what thou sayest.”
An oath,
“I do not know the man.”

Even I curse and swear,
The man!”

Of whom do I speak,
O Simon,
O Rock,
O Peter?

Of whom do I speak?
“He is at hand that doth betray me.”
I am he.
And I shall weep.
From beyond the walls.

I could not watch with him,
On his deathbed,
In his final hours.

I could not stand with him,
When the kiss came:
“Hold him fast.”

I could not be for him,
Outside the walls,
In the morning.

I am he:
The rock, on whom the church will be built.

I am he:
Whom Jesus loved.
And yet I slept.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring Break is over

Tomorrow I head back to work. It's been a good week, but I could use another. But as I sit on the ferry heading back to the mainland, I thought it would be good to do some reflecting of the week it was.

I did sleep in, or at least I stayed in bed past 7 almost every morning. I didn't wear my pj's all day, but I'm assuming that sweatpants are just as good and I did stay in them a few days. I went to work out 5 times during the week. I did Gary's taxes and filed our own. I got caught up on the accounting, but was behind again the next day as we bought something or a bill came in. It's a never-ending battle. I called my great aunt a few times, but it never suited her to get together. I did some spring cleaning, moving all furniture on the main floor and in two bedrooms to vacuum and clean behind them. Oh my! There is a reason we do that annually! Micah and I did have a date, going out for lunch and to Toys 'R Us for the Lego set. I did play the computer games, so much so that I took them off the ipad, knowing what an incredible time waster they are. I went to see Adriel in Swallows and Amazons. What a great show! I went to see Sarina dance. How I wish I had grown up dancing and am so thankful that we were able to encourage Sarina in this great expression. I did not go out for coffee with any friends. I also did not do any prep work for the new class. I don't even know where to begin, as I have no idea where they are in the curriculum or yearly plan. Guess I have my work cut out for me this week! I also did some reading, finally starting the book The Map of True Places.  I've also started reading my pastor's new book entitled Sacred Pauses, and am hoping it will help me have a fresh perspective on daily spiritual renewal.

Speaking of pauses, I'm very thankful for the past week. I know that those of us in the teaching profession are spoiled by our regular breaks, and so I don't want to take it for granted. I hope that it will make me a better teacher and person. I am looking forward to seeing the little gaffers again
tomorrow, although it will be bittersweet as it will be my last week with them.

And now I sit on the ferry as it goes by some of the most gorgeous scenery in the world. How absolutely beautiful. And I pause again, knowing that this time is a gift. I am by myself in a ferry full of people. What a gift! May you also have gifts of time to think and reflect over the next little while, even if you don't have an official "Spring Break."

Friday, March 15, 2013

Spring break!

Yesterday as I was teaching my grade 2/3 class, I was having them do some journal writing. We talked about what kinds of things they might do during our week of spring break. (Yes, we only get one week in Mission, as compared to to Abby's two weeks!) I asked them where they might go, who they might see and what kind of imaginative games they might play. It was a fun discussion and then I had them get to work. I worked my way around the class checking on their progress. A few minutes into the exercise and one girl piped up and asked "Mrs. Brandt, why don't you write about what you will do?" I didn't have to be asked twice. She gave me a paper and a pencil and I started. In no time, I had half a page stopped their work to watch me scribble. And then I told them to get going, too. Hopefully I motivated them. Here's my entry:

"I love spring break! I am going to sleep in every day and wear my pajamas till noon. I am going to read books, play Candy Crush Saga and Scrabble. I am going to visit my great Aunt. I want to go out for coffee with friends. Micah and I will go out for lunch to A & W to use his gift card and then go to Walmart to buy a Lego set he's been saving up for. I will do our tax forms and catch up on our accounting. I will do some prep work for school. (I just found out yesterday afternoon that I will be teaching a new class after Easter, so I need to do some prep.) I will do some spring cleaning...which cupboards or drawers are the worst? I will work out at least 4 times at the gym. I will go to Victoria to see Sarina dance. I will go to Adriel's play at least once. I will do taxes for Gary, an older gentleman who asks me every year to do his returns and I can never say no."

So, first morning in, how am I doing? I woke up at 2:30 a.m. and couldn't sleep properly after that. I tried to use that time to go through my prayer list...but the headache wasn't letting my supplication take shape. So when the alarm went before 7, I just stayed in bed. Within half an hour,  however, the killer headache forced me up to get my drugs of choice: one Tylenol, one Advil and one diet coke. Obviously they are working, because I'm here. Not great, but better than a few hours ago. I will be leaving shortly to pick up my daughter from the ferry so that we can go to the play together tonight. I've done some scrabble turns, as well as my candy game. (It's really addicting! I should probably stop.) I have my granola in the oven and will call my aunt after I have posted this.

I love spring break. Oh, and who wants to go out for coffee?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March attempt at writing

What to write about? What do I have to say that is worth anyone reading? I honestly don't know.

Now I not only have an I-Pad, I also have a cell phone. I can text, call, check email, play games and scroll through Facebook with either of my new devices. In other words, they both have the potential for copious amounts of time wasted. They also both have the potential for greater communication and the ipad in particular has great potential in my classroom. We bought the phone primarily to be used with our daughter (she got a matching one on the same plan), so that we wouldn't worry about her. (Or at least we will know what to worry about!) I have downloaded a number of educational aps onto the ipad and the children in my class really enjoy it. I hope it is also helping them with their pre-reading skills.

Are either of these devices helping me with my goals? That remains to be seen.