Passion in Paradise

They kept shouting out, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” – Luke 23:21 (CEB)

It is the morning of Good Friday. I woke up while it was still dark, grabbed my camera, my computer and a blanket and drove the golf cart to the east side of the island. I arrived just in time to see this:

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Good Friday sunrise on North Captiva Island.

There is no one on the beach this morning. It’s quiet except for the waves, a few boats, and birds looking for fish. It’s a loud and beautiful silence.

My extended family has spent this week in a great house on beautiful North Captiva Island (happy 49th anniversary Mom and Dad – thanks for the trip!). We have swam at the pool and in the Gulf, walked on the beach, fished with friends, taken a boat out to shell on a sand bar, and played uncountable games of Euchre. It’s been an awesome week in our little bit of paradise.

And it’s also Holy Week.

Our spring break often coincides with Holy Week. Twice, I’ve been working at a church and so it meant time off at home in between Holy Week services and Easter planning. Last year is the first year we went somewhere warm for spring break as neither Dave nor I were working. The weather was uncharacteristically cool, but we still had a fun time. Because it was Holy Week, I’d planned Worship to Go. For Easter, we met up with friends in Indianapolis at a former pastor’s church.

This week more of the same was planned. 2015-03-31 07.55.39 I added a “holy space” to walk through Holy Week on an individual level, the Christ candle burning throughout the week.

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Palm Sunday was celebrated on the beach.

Maundy Thursday communion service atop the tower at the house as the sun set. 2015-04-01 11.14.34Today, we plan to attend a communion service at noon held by a pastor who lives on the island.

And then, tomorrow, home.

”Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:4-5 (NRSV)

Last night, we talked about abiding in Jesus and what that means for us. Our consensus is that when we do what Jesus would do, keeping his command to love one another as he has loved us, then we are abiding. I don’t know if remembering Jesus’ passion (or not remembering it) in the middle of paradise is what Jesus would do. I don’t know that we’ve been abiding all week. Should there have been more anxiety and sorrow?

As I woke up this morning, I thought how different this Good Friday was than the one we remember. I am sitting on a beach with sand and shells on my toes watching the sunrise with no fear or angst of what this day will bring. Tonight as the sun sets, we’ll pack our bags and prepare for an early morning departure. No Easter Vigil will be kept. Even the Good Friday communion service at noon will be sandwiched between the pool and the beach. No thick darkness will cover the land. I don’t anticipate an earthquake.

Passion in paradise.

However you have been spending your Holy Week, I pray that Christ has been remembered. And even though your passion this week may not have followed Christ’s passion, I believe we still abide when we remember. May your Good Friday indeed be good. And Happy Easter.

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