Saturday, April 23, 2011

he got it

photo via
Last night at Good Friday service my thoughts were captured by the thief on the cross.

What kind of faith does it take to say to a dying man, "Hey, when you get your kingdom, remember me."

He's dying.

What kingdom?

What can a dead man do for you?

The disciples were still confused. They were still looking for some kind of earthly coup.

But this guy--this convict--he got it.

I have the feeling that this thief may have been picking pockets at the sermon on the mount. I think he was familiar with Jesus and His teachings. He knew Who He was. And not just Who, because the disciples knew that much. This guy knew that the Kingdom was not of this world. He knew that death wasn't enough to stop this King.

He got it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

no ordinary death

When a man dies, hearts break. Life is shaken. It is cataclysmic for those who love him.

When the man--God--who holds all things together breathed his last it was no ordinary death. 

Matthew 27: 51-52 says, "...and the earth shook and the rocks were split.
The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;

This was a cosmic event.
When Christ died, the earth shuddered and Death was disturbed.

How could the people who witnessed the blackened sky, the shattered rocks, and dead people walking out of tombs still believe that Jesus was an ordinary man?

it's all about the love

Photo via morguefile. com
I've heard it said that the word "maundy" comes from the latin "mandatum novum" which means new commandment.
So Maundy Thursday means New Commandment Thursday. (Yes, I know today is Friday, but I'm still thinking about yesterday.)

His new commandment? "Love one another as I have loved you."

Today I was reading John's account of Christ's final hours. After partaking of the Passover meal, Jesus had a lot to say to his disciples. We tend to save the most important things until last, don't we? And Jesus did the same.

Jesus repeated his new commandment at least three times over the course of the evening.

He also gave an object lesson involving grape vines. He told us that we should abide in him. That we should abide in his love. Then he tells us how to abide in him: by keeping his commandments. Then he once again gives his commandment, "Love one another as I have loved you."

To abide in Christ requires that we love each other. Not just a little, but the way Christ loves us.

Not an easy thing to do. Really, it's beyond us. I think that's why in the same discourse Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit, sent to help us. We need the Spirit's help in order to keep Jesus' commandments. In order to love like he does and abide in him.

I don't know how well I've kept his commandments. There are some people that are easy to love. But others...
I want to learn. I want to love. I want to obey and abide.
It's all about the love.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Lent is almost over!

The past couple of years I've given up Facebook for lent, which isn't a bad idea considering how much time I spend on there. But it didn't really do anything for me spiritually.

This year I gave up food. Not all food, but nearly all good food. At least in my taste-buds' opinion.
It's been tough.
But there is some kind of connection between food and the soul. When we deprive the body of something it wants, the soul gets stronger. When we ignore the cries of the flesh, we are better able to hear the wooing of the Spirit.

This has been a tough (almost) forty days. But it's been wonderful, too. It's not gone the way I expected. I didn't experience sweetness and pats on the head. God has gotten down to business. And so have I. It's been hard work. And painful. But so good.

So, with mixed emotions I look forward to eating a cheeseburger next week. I'm happy to be getting my food choices back. But a little sad to leave this season.
Still, life is made of seasons. Fasting and feasting and I'm sure that I will find God in the feasting of Easter as much as I have in the fasting of Lent.

Do you practice Lent? If so, how? And if not, have you considered it?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

they say be careful what you ask for

I hate lies.
Despise deception.
I want to know what I can believe--whom I can trust.

So, I asked God to break the power of deception in my family. It's not that we have an unusual penchant for untruths. We aren't a bunch of liars or anything--no more than most people. But I felt compelled to pray that God would remove from each of us the ability to deceive.

Guess what?

He started with me.

I don't lie much. Not outright. I pride myself on my honesty. I make a real effort.

Pride is so often misplaced.

Even though I'm not an outright liar, for the most part, I am quite the deceiver, it turns out. And the person I am deceiving? Me.

God has taken this opportunity to strip away the ability to deceive myself. It's frightening. It's disgusting. I can't believe the things I've been hiding.

It's wonderful. It's liberating! The truth always is.