Daily Archives: March 18, 2015

A FORSYTHIA BUSH

mar 17 c

You can never tell what kind of discussion will pop up in an a room full of kids, but I should have known what today’s topic would be – after all – it is St. Patrick’s Day.

“Ouch,” one of my co-workers said.
“You’re not wearing green,” laughed a 5th grader.
“I am, too,” he replied. “Isn’t this green?” he asked me.

It was mint green. In fact, my shirt was also mint green, but no one messes with Miss Grandma. 20 minutes later – two smart phones “google”ing images of mint green, and the argument was still on-going.

Gotta love St. Patrick’s Day. Gotta love the Irish blood that flows through my veins. Gotta love spring.

When I got home, the forsythia was in full bloom. The yellow blossoms wide open forsythia mar 17 2015and beckoned me closer. It is the smallest forsythia bush I have ever had the privilege of growing. I planted it in 2013, but it wasn’t happy in the first spot. Didn’t grow. Didn’t blossom. Didn’t thrive. So last year, I dug it out of the red clay. I loosened the dirt around its roots, and chose a new spot. I added new soil and mixed it with the denser dirt of our small plot of land. Today it smiled at me, and I smiled back. It was resurrected.

“Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.” Jn 11:1

Rabbi Yeshua had a good friend. His name was Lazarus. Most of you probably know this story. I know it was one of the first stories I ever heard. A man died. Buried for 4 days. Wrapped up like a mummy with tons of material binding him tightly. A big rock covering the entrance to the tomb. Sisters confused and in mourning. Jesus wept and then commanded. Stone rolled away. Lazarus walked out.

“This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” Jn 11:4b

Many lessons are buried (so to speak) in this one story..patience …conquering fear…walking in faith…conquering death. Buried even deeper in this story is the foreshadowing of another path – one that the rabbi himself would soon walk – one that would bring forth an even greater miracle – one that still is overwhelming in its conceptualization – FORGIVENESS GRACE – a path created by the sacrifice of a Son that would lead us back to the Father despite our sins.

I thought of that story today as I looked at the small forsythia bush. I thought about it again as I watched the sun set from our patio and watched the small bud coverings drop close by my feet. Spring brings the bright colors of the early flowers: tulips, daffodils, crocuses, forsythia. It brings the fuzzy buds of unfolding leaves, and the winter white softness of pussy willows. It brings the music of birds as they begin their mating journeys and nest building. It brings silly debates over the color of green. It brings resurrection. It brings GRACE. It makes Miss Grandma smile and send a prayer of thanks – over and over again.peace

DICHOTOMY

sunset mar 16 2015aI don’t know what it was that drew me outside tonight. The geese were talking down by the lake. There was a basketball bouncing somewhere on one of the other cul-de-sacs. A bird was singing in one of our oak trees in the front yard. Soft voices of our neighbors drifted up from the lake. But I don’t think it was any of those things, that pulled me away from the comfy chair.  I think it was the quietness of G-d.

I stepped out on our tiny front porch and looked toward the east. The typical deep blues and grays were overcast with an even deeper purple as the approaching night crept closer. Turning west took my breath away. Aquas, Carolina blues, ribbons of pinks stretching the length of the horizon while a lone goose soared, looking for the perfect place to sleep away the night.

“Yeshua said to him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have shelters, but The Son of Man does not have a place to lay his head.”~Lk9:58 (ABPE)

You have to understand, I don’t take many pictures. That was mom’s job. She lovedsunset mar 16 2015f taking pictures – sharing them with her friends and relatives – capturing the moment that she saw with her artistic eye. Instead, I tend to absorb the moment, treasure it in my heart; maybe pulling it out to write about it at some later time. Yet tonight, I turned back to the house and grabbed my phone.Not content to snap one picture, I ventured (in my barefeet, no less) out into the yard. I wanted to capture the eastern sky as much as the western sky. The dichotomy of the two pulled sharply at me, but the camera’s eye couldn’t catch the mingling darkness tinged with the fading rays. So I settled for snapping pictures of the final evolving colors in the west.

Yet, in between the snaps, I kept turning back to the eastern sky. It pulled me in as much as the western sky. Back and forth. Back and forth. Until it dawned on me. It was the lion and lamb dichotomy.

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” ~Is 11:6

I have loved this section of Isaiah since I was a child. Actually, Isaiah uses this same contrasting picture of different animals several times in his book. Before the house burned, I had a print of this verse hanging in our house. It was done, not in full color, but through the eye of a brown lens. The lion, the lamb, the curly headed child. It was a treasure that couldn’t be replaced.

Recently, as I was reading Mark Batterson’s The Grave Robber, the Holy Spirit drew a different picture in my mind. This was not just a picture of things to come – not just a picture of our return to the habitat that G-d envisioned when He placed us in the Garden – but it was also a picture of Christ himself. When the WORD became flesh the first time as Rabbi Yeshua, He had to come as a LAMB. The world was a pretty violent place…crucifixions, beheadings, wars… His people needed to see how His Father’s LOVE could change a world – could change our sin nature. And it did…off and on – bright spots in a long history of darkness – for a while.

But as seems to be the case, we often choose the idols even when we know better – even when we have been shown perfect LOVE. It is much easier to love the ease of idols rather than strive to perfect ourselves. It is much easier to excuse our weaknesses rather than strive to correct them. It is once again, a violent world – crucifixions, beheadings, wars….

When the Messiah Christ comes again, He will show another side of His personality- the LION. 2000+ years ago, we were shown His great LOVE, and still – we ignore the wisdom He taught. We walk away. We hide our face. We cover ourselves with leaves of excuses. We have lost our innocence – our righteousness. Only a LION’s roar will be able to break through our cacophony and lead us back to Our Father’s habitat that He designed just for us.

Tonight was a dichotomy of G-d’s making – darkness on one side – light beckoning on the other. The choice is ours. The LION is coming.

“…Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” ~Matt 6:10peace