I know that technically Good Friday has passed, but I am still up (way later than I should be) so it is still Friday to me. I have taken some time to ponder the events of today and reflect on some not-so-easy-to-answer questions from J-Man. The questions may be easier to answer for an eight year old, but a four year old - a bit challenging.
Our church celebrated Good Friday today with a noon-time service and bag lunch. It was actually a joint service with two other churches in our area and I believe this is the third year we have done this. We celebrate with song, prayer, and a short challenge from a preacher from one of the three churches. A wonderful reflection of what price Jesus Christ paid for us. A time to remember and ponder the foundation of our faith.
On the way to the service, with the Easter cantata music playing, we drove by another church and J-Man pointed out the purple "robe" hanging on the cross. "Jesus' robe is on the cross, Mommy."
Further down the road and a bit closer to our church, there are blue ribbons on light poles, signs, and any other posts imaginable. There was a fallen officer's funeral around 6-9 months ago and the ribbons tracked the route taken from another church (where the funeral was) to the burial site. J-Man asked what the ribbons were for. Before I could really answer, he remembered that we had this conversation before and proceeded to tell me that he knew what they were for. They were for the police man. I told him he was correct. They were hung because the police man died.
"Is he in Heaven with Jesus?"
Ooooh. I don't know. After having conversations with my own dad about the officer (as he knew him personally), I am not sure that he is in heaven.
How do I tell this to a four year old?
How do I explain that not everyone makes the choice to go to heaven?
Do I avoid it all the way?
I don't want to lie to him.
I also don't want to judge or make a false statement about the man's faith.
I went with the "be honest" answer. "J-Man, I am really not sure if he is in heaven with Jesus or not. Remember, Mommy and Daddy have told you that Jesus is a gift to us?" He had a positive response. "There are some people who choose to accept Him as their gift and ask Him into their hearts. There are some that do not. When they do accept Him, they have the wonderful opportunity to go to heaven with Jesus when they die." "Those people who choose not to accept that gift, do not get to go to heaven."
Was this silence good or bad? Even at this point, I am not sure. I am confident that he was just taking it all in. If he wanted to know more, he would have asked. Sometimes it is just good to answer the question and stop. I have learned to not add an extra two cents - it may be too much.
When we sat down for service, a black cloth draped the cross in the church. J-Man noticed that it wasn't purple as the one down the road was and asked why. "The black 'robe' is in memory of Jesus dying on the cross for us. Today we celebrate His death." I know Sunday will present the question of why there is a white "robe", but I am so glad that I am able to let him know that our Christ arose from the dead.
We serve a living God. The ONLY living God!
"But the angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where he lay." Matthew 28:5-6
Yes, these questions may be hard for me to totally answer for a four year old, but I am glad that there is a glorious outcome after my flesh passes away. I am glad God's promises were fulfilled through Jesus' death on the cross and through his resurrection. I am glad my God is living and breathing and with me every step of my day.