I don't, but for an hour or so a week, I get to interact with the beings after school. Adopt them temporarily. They meander into our church in steady stream of chatter. They snack with their friends. Then they sing (or don't sing) dorky camp songs with one of the dorkiest people I know- me.
Music has a kind of crazy magic that draws out of a person a wild abandon that just can't be released effectively through speech. Add in dancing and ridonkulous lyrics about baby sharks, and you have wholly different people. So in a way, I'm pretty much a magician. Maybe that's why I have been accepted into the tribe of fifth graders.
I was initiated yesterday. While other kids filed into the sanctuary, a lovely girl and her friend walked up to me to show off their sweatshirts. There wasn't much extraordinary about the shirts themselves, but what was scrawled on them was worthy of notice. I'm still not sure I understand why, but for some reason these girls had their friends sign their shirts. In permanent marker.
I repressed the questions of my inner mom ("And your moms are cool with this?"), and marveled at the creativity and comradery demonstrated in the multi-colored names across their arms and backs. Friends willing to sign off on these girls. They knew them and more than that, they approved of them. And they were willing to testify to that permanently.
"You wanna sign it?" She sounded so cool about it.
"Yes please," I answered. I'm not nearly so cool.
She held out her Sharpie rainbow and I selected my color. I signed her back. Because I have her back. I signed her friend's hood.
I've signed my name before. And I've signed off on the most horrible sins. Music works its magic and draws out my confession in worship:
"Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free..."
"But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities..."
Yes, I signed off on His death. You can see my signature there. No Sharpie needed. It is written in His blood.
But that's not the end of the story. He loves us too much to end it there.
"Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love."
-The Power of the Cross, by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend
"...upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed."
And it is tonight and in the days to come that we receive admission to witness the most glorious of all paradoxes. The Servant King binds our wounds with His wounds.
It's not just some cool theological mystery to ponder and solve.
It's God the Father signing His name, His approval, onto His Son. Then clothing us in Him.
We have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27)
And it's more than clothing deep. It cuts right to the heart.
Because we are His friends. (John 15:13-15)
You are His friend.
He made you that way.
Because He loves you.
It is holy week, but Jesus didn't die for this week. He died for you.
So that when we are not enough, when things don't get done, when we say that thing that we shouldn't have said, when we sign our names to Christ's murder over and over again- He shows us the truth.
"I have called you by name. You are mine."
"I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand."
A blessed holy week to you all. I'd sign your sweatshirts any day. I pray for you in the days to come. Things have been crazy around these parts. Preparing for Easter, then Kenya. Reading the Bible in 90 days and doing a Beth Moore study simultaneously provides plenty of inspiration, but little time. Oh, and I have kids.
Which is probably why I'm linking late with Simply Beth yet again. But hey, better late than never.
Love you all!