Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lent 33: Preening and plumage

Jesus would have less than a week to live if he was in “our time” before Palm Sunday and Holy Week. He would have celebrated his last Sabbath, gathering to recited Torah with his family or followers. They would have laughed, talked, and sung the Psalms. The next day he would walk into Jerusalem with crowds lining the streets, shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David!” And in less than a week he would be betrayed by an insider, falsely accused and tried by religious authorities, and flogged and nailed to a cross by Roman soldiers.

Yesterday was a busy day in “our time,” too. By noon, my office pack-up was complete. Fragile things were in the car to be transported to the new building. Our church pastors met at lunch. Alumni wanted help with diplomas and updates. After heading home, I wrote a few references into the paper I have to finish this weekend. Then it was 7-11.30pm, time to work at “Evening.”

Evening replaced the Spring Banquet a few years ago as the annual student tradition. Against windows showcasing Shilshole Bay and the mountains, many young women had preened, with perfectly done hair and makeup, fashion outfits, and glittery accessories. A few reveled in not preparing at all: “A twenty-minute fix,” said one who would have looked at home in an office. The guys’ plumage ranged from rented pirate coats to T-shirts over jeans to purchased gangster suits. “You should see my fedora,” said one who had checked his hat at the door. Glittering eyelashes to casually tossed scarf. It was a spectacle of insiders and outsiders moving, watching, chatting, and snacking on beautifully prepared desserts.

I was asked to help at the photo booth and pass out yearbooks. God’s sense of humor is not always appreciated: the booth was in a room with the deafening band. I screamed instructions for three hours to those incapable of reading directions on the screen… without earplugs. (Reminded me of consistently being volunteered for my least favorite appointment in younger years, watching 6-18 month babies in the nursery.) I snuck away for 15 minutes midway to see our magician friend’s illusions act.

In a few weeks, the graduates plan to launch into the world. Will they find work? Good company? Kindness? Suffering? Humor? True love? Betrayal? Probably all of the above. But this night, with pictures captured in a photo booth crammed with three classmates or just a special someone, is already a memory of “Remember when? Those were the good old days.”

God’s peace be with you!

*LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:5-8 NLT

*So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV

*And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 1 John 2:28 NLT

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