Saturday, April 19, 2014

What if it is True

Hello Friends.
I've got a little Easter message for you.  The photos are from my churches Easter Egg Hunt.  Oh those little peeps sure had a GREAT time.

One six-year old girl had as her “first pet” a horned toad. A horned toad is a prickly, pointy reptile creature, like a frog with a hard, scaly dry skin. Still this small creature was her pet, and so she faithfully fed it, gave it water, and kept it safe in its cage. Then one day the horned toad managed to escape. For days the family looked for him (admittedly Mom and Dad probably had a different drive for finding the reptile than did their daughter).

First all the kids did crafts.
Weeks later poor “Toady” was discovered inside a box, under a bed. He was dead. At least he looked dead. But the little girl knew that some reptiles hibernated for long periods, and she thought that perhaps Toady was just in a deep sleep. So she poured some water on the little horned toad’s body. Immediately the body reacted by moving, curling up, its tail twisted. It had life again.

MOM and her kids hid over 2000 eggs
But the first reaction of the little girl to a toad come to life was not rejoicing, but screaming in horror and dropping the box.

It's one thing to hope for a life come back to life. It is another thing to accept that there actually may be an indestructible spirit that can overcome death, that resurrection may be real.

The hunt is on.
Most of us are caught somewhere between wanting to believe in the power of resurrection and the stupefying strangeness of a life that might transcend death. As biological beings we instinctively recognize the “end signs” of physical death. Yet our spiritual selves still wait for the next act. We cannot accept the finality of biological end. And yet confronting that “something more” still terrifies us.

We both want and fear “forever.” The first reaction of all who witnessed the empty tomb was terror. No one rejoiced. All those first responders were frightened and bewildered. They wanted to know “What is going on?” “Where is Jesus’ body?” “What has happened here?” In none of the gospel resurrection texts is there a reaction of joy and happiness and faith when the tomb is opened and revealed to be empty. In every instance the first human reaction is grief and despair. The first responders to the tomb expected to offer their sorrow and sadness at Jesus’ tomb. Not one person expected to respond with joy and faith at the sight of an empty space. Despite all of Jesus’ messages to his disciples, they were totally unprepared for what they encountered on Easter morning.

For those who follow Jesus 21 centuries later the question is no less “in your face.” The ultimate challenge that confronts us on Easter is this: “What if it’s true?”

Trust me the Easter baskets where OVERFLOWING
What if the God of the universe loves each and every one of us? What if that love walked among us in the person of Jesus?  What if that love embraced the ultimate sacrifice of death for our sake?  What if that love was able to transcend the finality and power of death and live again to live forever?  What if that love continues to live and walk among us today, two thousand years after that death-melting resurrection?  What if it is ALL TRUE?

How sweet is she
But you say “Prove It!” Show me the “proof” that it’s true! How do you “prove” if it’s true?

The Bible is not a book where the truth is in the science, but truth is in the story. And while the resurrection is a fact narrative, not just a faith narrative – the Son of God DID shake off those grave clothes, the stone DID roll away the facts of “He’s Alive!” must be taken in faith. The truth is this: it’s a leap of faith either way.

My favorite little peep, "L".  Yep he got a bucket full.
So I ask again: What if it’s true?  What if Jesus did rise from the dead?  What if Jesus did make eternal life possible for each and every one of us because of what he did on the cross?  What if “God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life?”  What if it is ALL TRUE?

The most astounding, transforming truth of Easter is this: if Jesus broke the power of death, it's a power that still continues today. He is ALIVE! And that means, everything has changed. What if it’s true? Everything has changed!

Easter Sunday is when we “refresh” our spiritual memory and reconnect to our most basic spiritual connection — our faith that Jesus Christ defeated death, rose from the dead, and demonstrated that divine power and love and beauty can never be held captive by the grip of suffering and death. Easter is the time when we renew our confession of faith in something that defies logic. In “online” language, it's the time when we hit our spiritual “refresh” icon, bringing our daily lives back into sync with our spiritual commitments.

That’s why the highest point in Handel’s “Messiah” is a direct quote from Job 19:25, the confession of a man who suffered greatly on earth and yet knew in his soul that there was “something more.” Job knew that God’s love, that God’s promises, were real. His spirit knew that “it was true.” In his moment of deepest despair and darkness Job could still find the fragment of faith within himself that could confess, “I know that my Redeemer lives.”

My crazy MOM and one of the coolest little peeps I know, Xandar.
Have you ever been to the Coliseum in Rome? If you have you would see concealed beneath it a labyrinth of passages and cells, lifts and ramps, storerooms and concealed traps through which beasts, prisoners, gladiators and stagehands were deployed to engineer the pageants above, including palm trees and mounds of sand.  Exploring this underworld is a very different experience from watching the spectacles in the arena above.

On a tour of the Coliseum an English botanist saw a flower he had never seen in Italy before. Puzzled, he started to look closely at the other flowers growing between the flagstones in the old arena and the cracks in the stone seats of the terraces. The flowers weren't native to Rome, or even to Italy. The bemused botanist left the Coliseum to go and look at the patches of grass nearby under the Arch of Titus, over the Capitoline Hill and in the stadium. He couldn't find a trace of these exotic flowers at all. When he took the flowers back to his Cambridge laboratory, he found that they had come from precise, verifiable places: Libya and Tunisia mostly. The only feasible explanation he could come up with was that the flowers had grown from seeds that had lodged in the coats of lions brought from Africa to eat Roman prisoners in the Colosseum 2,000 years before.

At my church instead of filling the sanctuary with Lilies, we fill reusable bags with enough food to feed a family of 4 for 5 days.  We give these bags to St. Anne's Homeless Shelter and they give them out to those in need.
The seeds fell off the lions as they tore into the Christians in the arena. The lions are long gone. The suffering is over. But those seeds are still bearing fruit, bearing witness to the power of life to win out over death.

“I know . . . I KNOW . . . I KNOW . .that my Redeemer lives.”  He lives in us and He lives among us.  That’s the proof. The proof is not a point. The proof is a person. Let’s go prove it by the way we live, care, love, give.


OH P.S.-  I almost forgot.  I know I put this up last year, butt my MOM just giggles every time when she sees it.  So here it is again;

Have you ever wondered how the bunny became apart of Easter?

Hahhahhahha.  And there goes my MOM laughing and smiling her head off.  I admit I snickered too.  That Jesus is one cool dude.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I LOVE that one word

Hello Friends.

See if you can guess what one word gets me moving.