Posted in Different Scriptures

An Eastertide Reminder…(you already know this)

Don’t put away your Easter Tree just yet!

Oh, you don’t have an Easter tree? That’s fine. Whatever your Easter décor or traditions, don’t shove them into storage at this point. We’ve only just begun our celebrations of Easter. It’s ok if your candy has run out, as we can now pursue much more celebrative ways to announce “He is Risen!”.

“Eastertide” on the church calendar is traditionally the 50 days between Resurrection Sunday and Pentecost Sunday. There are many traditions and connections to this season, but notice this: 50 days is just about 1/7th of a year. So in a sense, Eastertide is like the “Great Sunday” of the year! During this season, we are invited to contemplate the Resurrection of Jesus, what that means for the ways Resurrection Life unfolds & is available to us here and now, and to anticipate the future Resurrection when God brings all things to completion.

There are so many reasons for us to spend more time than we do, talking about and celebrating resurrection life. It’s literally one of the foundations of who we are as Christians. Early believers thought it was so important, they even moved their weekly gathering of worship to Sunday – believing the resurrection to be a sort of “8th Day of Creation”, or “First Day of New Creation”. It has transformed reality as we know it!

One of the keys (I think) to embracing the resurrection as something to truly celebrate, is to become increasingly aware of the difference between “coming back to life” and “resurrection”. Many people in scripture come “back to life“, meaning they return to the way of existing before they died. But this is not what happened to Jesus. We read in 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.

Paul clarifies it even stronger in Colossians 1:18, “ He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.” The “coming back to life” of anyone else was something to be celebrated for that person. But the resurrection of Jesus Christ changed everything. Here we see in the person of Jesus Christ, the coming together of Heaven (where God exists fully) and earth (where humanity dwells). He was given his “resurrection body” that is able to exist both where God is fully and where humanity dwells – a way of existing never before experienced by mankind. This is a reminder to us as believers that we are not ultimately looking forward to Heaven, even though it will be great to be with God fully. Even scripture reminds us that, “..in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.” (2 Peter 3:13) We all – those of us still here on earth, and our loved ones who currently wait in the presence of God – are waiting on the coming New Creation where Heaven & Earth are united as never before.

The exciting thing is: We are not waiting passively! We join today as we are literally brought to new life from the Life of the Age that is to come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” The good news isn’t that if we accept Jesus into our hearts, we will eventually join him in Heaven. The good news is that for ALL people, when we abide in the Life of Christ (who IS the beginning of the coming New Creation) NOW, we become places and people through whom the coming New Creation is bursting forth TODAY, being proclaimed and revealed in ways that announce what it will be like fully some day!

Whew. Okay. I need to take a breath and calm down. But you can see why it would be a really big shame if we spent all that time building up toward Easter throughout Lent, celebrated with a big breakfast, pretty pictures and some candy, then went about our year as usual the next day, right? We can see why an entire “Eastertide” season is needed, and why every Sunday throughout the year becomes a miniature celebration of the resurrection. We are resurrection people.

The question then: If celebrating the resurrection means revealing/embodying the ways of Jesus and His coming New Creation – how will you celebrate this week?

Posted in Different Scriptures, Spoken Word

John 21:1-14

“Children”, you called out your men
Asking if they’d caught some fish
Did they wonder who this man was
Who told them sides to switch?

Did you say it playfully
With loving brotherhood?
Or did you try to draw their ire
As if up to no good?

Their response is telling
For they did not get upset
They responded, trying the other side
And came up with overfilled net

Peter threw his clothes on,
and jumped into the water
I wonder if you thought he’d come
Swimming naked as an otter

I’d love to have seen your smile
As he reached the shore, soaking
And the smile that came to his face
As he saw your fire smoking

I’m sure you hugged him fully
Soaking through your clothes
With the kind of compassion
Only a Father knows

I see you every morning
Awaiting me, ashore
I know that you receive me
With a gladness just as pure

I confess that there are days
I stay too long in my boat
Wanting to be productive
Thinking my role is to stay afloat

If I am discouraged
Or have moments a bit too wild
I pray that you’ll call out to me
And begin by yelling – “child”.

Posted in Different Scriptures, Spoken Word

Luke 24:13-35

Lord Jesus, I pray that you’d join me
As you joined your friends on that road
That you’d help me to have your perspective
On all of the seeds that you sowed.

To have you tell all that Gods’ done
In my life, and my marriage, & fam
To have you tell all from your vantage
And try to soak up all that I can

Your wisdom and your patient mercy
Even when they hadn’t a clue
The person who walked alongside them
Wasn’t a stranger, it was you

How difficult must that have been
Or did you disguise self on purpose?
Did you make them wait to discover
Until things went below the surface?

While their hearts were burning within them
Was your heart burning as well?
As they mumbled and mourned for their Savior
Was it hard to hold back & not tell?

How often do I miss your presence
As you walk alongside me each day?
I will turn toward you breaking the bread
And attentively hear what you say…