It's the religion I practice, that I was raised to practice, and is a large part of my identity (my rampant bad language and interest in Hinduism and Buddhism notwithstanding). But it's 4th weekend in Lent, and we're getting close to the darkest time in Christianity, followed by our most joyous holiday (bigger than Christmas!).
Walking into the sanctuary on Good Friday is always difficult for me, as everything is adorned in black, including a black veil over the crucifix behind the altar. It's a time of solemnity and reflection, to remember our Lord and Savior's death on the cross. We all leave in dark silence after the service, not to return (unless you go the Easter vigil on Saturday night) until His resurrection on Easter Sunday. When you walk into the church on Easter Sunday, it's phenomenal, as the church is all adorned in white, and we can finally say "Alleluia" again, and we celebrate Christ's resurrection. It's SUCH a joyous time in the church that I'm often moved to choked up singing the hymns, like "Christ The Lord Has Risen Today."
I saw "The Passion of the Christ" with a group from my church when it was in theatres, as well as owning a copy of it on DVD (in the storage unit). It didn't strike me until seeing that film just HOW much suffering Jesus likely went through to bear our sins upon himself and give up His life.
The film has some lighter moments that are probably conjecture but show the Lord at his most humorous humanity. Like this one, where his mother calls him in to eat, but he's busy carpentering.
If nothing else, the film humanizes Christ, who has been, historically, an abstraction, despite the New Testament's vivid stories of Christ's life on Earth.
We've all read the Bible stories, as told by the Disciples in the Gospels, about Christ's death and resurrection, though those, too, were always to me, an abstraction. This is a more graphic, raw, saddening depiction of Christ's last that makes me cry and nearly fall to my knees in a heartbeat:
THAT scene just breaks my heart. Not that I don't know the story ultimately has an astoundingly breath-taking happy ending....
I am hoping to make it to Easter Sunday church this year, though I don't know yet, with the hysterectomy coming up, if I'll be up to it or not by April 8th, with the surgery on March 26th. I am supposed to, after church and Easter breakfast at church (a tradition, this time sponsored by the Work Camp mission trippers, who need the dough to offset costs of their mission trip, Luke included), head off to De Kalb to spend Easter with my mom, Luke, my brother and my nephew, all of whom with which I really want to spend the day.
If you've never seen "The Passion of the Christ," I highly recommend it. It's like the one thing Mel Gibson did right in his life. It's graphic and depressing and glorious and enriching. Faith-binding to say the least.
Remember, "By His stripes we are healed...." and "He is risen. He is risen indeed!"