Beauty

Spring is the season that helps me marvel. I am reminded of that each time I step out into the world and see the shocking, defiant beauty of daffodils asserting themselves against a dark brown carpet of withered grass, disintegrating leaves, and patches of bare ground. Continuing the brilliant crescendo of yellow, the forsythia broadcasts it’s wild, unruly, joyful presence with a gusto that is bursting with life affirming happiness. Marvelous! I am changed in the presence of such beauty.

May spring also be a time to marvel as I drink in the beauty of God.

The God who is even older than the universe and the debris of my leftover winter lawn.

The God who is all powerful and created my earth and formed the intricacy of a daffodil’s bulb and who marvels himself as it bursts into flower.

The God who who created the planets and placed them in their orbits and also allowed the forsythia its rampant freedom of bloom.

And to think that this God is my God!

My God because he first loved me.

My God because he prepared all the conditions for my emergence from the winter of separation and hibernation from all things holy and spiritual.

My God because he made me into a living, growing, thing of wonder, a child of his own.

My God because such miraculous transformation became possible because of his own grace, mercy and redemption.

My God because he came to me in my Jesus, my Christ.

I am changed in the presence of such a fusion of eternal life. May I never cease to drink in the beauty of the One who graced me. May I always marvel in awe and thankfulness before my Savior, whatever the season of the year, or the season of my life.

The Enigma of Easter

Most of us have heard the Easter story so many multiples of times that there is no way we can be shocked like those close to him that first Easter.

In spite of everything the disciples had seen Jesus do from healing the sick to feeding a hungry crowd in spite of what they heard Jesus say about how he will be killed  and how on the third day he would be raised.  Not one of the disciples expected to see him alive.  Not one of them had any hope.

Where were the macho men who had followed Jesus for three years? Hiding, in fear for their lives. Their faith and their dreams crushed.

It was the women who went to the tomb that Sunday morning. They didn’t go to see if Jesus had risen. They went to the graveyard to finish the work of burying him.

The women see someone — an angel — who tells them Jesus has been raised.   He tells them to go out and tell the others. Tell them soon they will see Jesus themselves.  The story ends with them running away in panic,  terrorized by what they had seen. Dead men stay dead.

No one was expecting resurrection. Old Testament prophecies of the resurrection. Jesus’ own teaching. The disciples just plain missed it.  They only got it after they saw Jesus alive again.

The very Word of God became alive and significant only after they had seen the risen Christ.

The written Word becomes really alive for us only after we meet the living Jesus. Otherwise, it’s just an old book covered with dust lying on a bookshelf underneath the LL Bean catalog and grocery ads.

The old book is a book of don’t do this and don’t do that until we meet the one who says – hey you — do come and follow me.

They were not expecting resurrection. Jesus’ resurrection, or their own. That’s clear from this story. What about you?