As most of you know, yesterday was Good Friday. Its the day in which Christians remember the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, the slaughtered Lamb of God. This week, however, I re-named it "Good Enough Friday." Intrigued? Keep reading. Lent is one of those seasons that is relatively new for me. I came to faith when I was 14 years old through the ministry of Young Life, a para-church organization, and attended an Evangelical church for years and years until joining Risen Church in Santa Monica. I had never even heard of Lent before attending Risen, but for the past few years I have started to practice it. I refuse to turn it into a Holy diet, but instead have found myself practicing things I KNOW will lead me to lean on the Lord and remind me of my depravity in a way that turns me toward His grace. I typically choose to give something up as well as taking a new habit on.
About 40 days ago, around midnight on the eve of Lent I chose what I'd give up and take on. It was something unique and I thought it'd bring me closer to God- which it should have. But when one day of failing turned to one week of failing; and one week of failing turned into a full month, it lead me to... well, the opposite.
I didn't really give up what I had told myself I would, and I failed to read my daily Lent devotion like I promised. Each morning that I went to read, shame crept in and it pushed me further and further from Him.
Oh, then this week-The crown of the Lenten season. This was Holy week.
Each day of intended celebration turned into buckets of frustration with myself.
"I'll finish the reading before Palm Sunday!" I said. Nope.
"I'll get it done before Maundy Thursday!" Nope.
"If I just do the last few readings before Good Friday, I'll be prepared in my heart to really experience it" Not even close.
And little by little, I let these perceived shortcomings wedge themselves between God and I, as if He was counting my failures along with me.
Then, last night, it hit me. I've totally missed it.
I recently heard my dear friend John May Jr. preach a message on the book of Galatians. Paul, the writer of said book, found himself pleading with the people of Galatia to repent of the way that they hadn't lived into the freedom that Christ had given them. These Christians had found themselves set free, totally forgiven by grace, but slowly failing to trust that grace was enough. They panicked, and little by little, they made a new law. A new religion. A new "Good Enough" to achieve that didn't come from God at all.
In his message, Johnny reminded me of Galatians 2:20-21 which reads "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
There's nothing inherently wrong with practicing the season of Lent. There's nothing inherently wrong with wanting to attend a Good Friday service. However, the minute the failure to practice these rituals somehow convinces us that we ARE failures, and that God is disappointed in our performance just like we are, we have made a new law, and "if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"
Maybe thats the whole point of this Lenten season for me.
Maybe the whole point is to be able to SERIOUSLY CELEBRATE the fact that I absolutely failed at everything I set out to do, but it changed NOTHING between God and I. I bit the big one, and He literally couldn't love me more than He does right now. He's still crazy about my wayward guts.
Because of the events we celebrate this week, His grace is more than enough for me despite my failure to celebrate that grace in the way that I wanted to.
Maybe the best part of Good Friday (the Good-est part?) is that I absolutely don't have to be Good Enough anymore.
In fact, I think from now on in my little heart, I'll call it "Good Enough Friday", to remind me that I'll never be, but I am all at once. He has made it so, by His sacrifice.
Hallelujah, What a Savior!
Carly Escoto Calmes the First