Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wednesday Is My Favorite

I lived in Western Pennsylvania until I was 12 years old. For the first six years of my life we were city folk; we lived in town, within walking distance of Seventh Street School and the library and my best friend's house next to the river. We moved out to the country when I was ready for first grade, and I spent the next several years of my childhood experiencing life alongside my cousins and my grandparents.

My mom worked at Andersons Furniture Store in town, and so my brother and I went to a babysitter's house. Shirley Adams was a good Christian woman; we called her father "Ampsy", who was parked in front of the television most afternoons when I stepped off the bus at her house. My brother spent his days there, and my strongest memories of his presence are wrapped around "cheese toasted" sandwiches.

Wednesdays were special. My mom didn't work on Wednesdays, and so I rode the bus clear to Nicklin Church. I got off and walked the mile - uphill, no kidding - to our house alongside my cousins. Eric was there at home, and Mom would have dinner simmering and be more relaxed than usual.

My mom was blazing a trail for me even then; an independent woman who managed the household along with a full-time job. My dad travelled most weeks, and so she carried the weight of the parenting and everything else.

And Wednesdays were alway my favorite day of the week.


We're in that crazy season running up to Easter, with spring exploding and beautiful weather and obvious outside chores screaming for attention. It's the end of regulation drumline season but just a week until the big Worldwide Competition in Dayton, so anticipation is high and practices are long. In our family, birthday madness starts in April, with Shannon and my mom and now Max needing gifts and celebrations, quickly followed by me and my dad and Mother's Day and now wedding showers and on and on we will go. I'll blink soon and it will be August, I'm sure.


Because the days are filled to the brim and time off is scarce, I'm carving out space for rest where I can find it. Lately, it's been the blessed emptiness of Wednesday mornings. I've captured the time that seems to escape my grasp lately on these mornings; holding it still and centered, in the quiet of the kitchen in the morning light. Wednesdays have stretched out for me lately, lingering in a visit with family, the time to contemplate a paragraph or two, the luxury of sitting still while my lunch digests.

I'm reading Richard Rohr's Wondrous Encounters for Lent, and yesterday's words struck home. Reading through the story of Jesus's encounter with a man paralyzed "as much in spirit as in his body", Rohr calls him out as a victim; mired in his circumstances, waiting for the mercy of others. I've always read this story as an indictment of the cruel, callous friends who denied help to the paralyzed guy, and seen Jesus as the superhero who helps everybody in need and gets the man a healing, supernaturally. Rohr digs deeper; he says

Jesus mirrors his best self for the man, he empowers him, and gives him back his own power, he "images" him, he gives the man back to himself by giving him His self.

There is this freshness to the gospel that I am feeling - and thinking, and hearing, and reading - these days. There are some who are pointing to a New Awakening, a grand re-working, as the political power of the Evangelical movement is weakened by the shifting sands of culture. There are many who are leaving the church as She is, and working to recreate Her. There are some who are leaving, period. But here, where I sit on a Wednesday morning, there is healing. There is an invitation, an open, expansive horizon of a Kingdom and a Savior who is both more and less than what we have made of Him.

There is Jesus, and what I see with these fresh eyes are what Rohr calls "healing images and courageous people to image us at our best." We are called and we are invited, and the mercy is new and the water is redemptive.

Wednesdays are still my favorite day of the week.

1 comment:

Pilgrim Soul said...

Funny -- reading Rohr's book as well...