Tag Archives: resurrection

BEAUTY OF THE EARTH

Ever had one of those days with your nose buried in a book, and you just don’t want to leave it alone…but you just have-ta?????

It is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I just love to read. I love learning new things, pondering them backwards and forwards and inside out. It can be a fiction book – like right now – Low Country by Anne Rivers Siddons – a Southern writer who blows me away with her in-depth narrative. A type of writer that you don’t want to skip even a sentence, let alone, a paragraph. She constructs a temporal porthole into the depths of the mid-1900’s South that has been dissipating with the influx or Northerners and the times of which we live.

How better to understand the culture of this new place I’ve chosen to plant roots? Re-reading earlier narratives to see an even older culture of the South is pushing at the back of my mind – even though I’ve read many of them before in college and high school, I may just have to re-read them. Hmmph – – -perhaps I knew that someday, I would have a need for a basic understanding to this culture. And if that premise is so – can’t wait to see how my scroll unfurls in the future since I’ve also been endlessly fascinated by books on Native Americans and the Holocaust.

Like usual though I can’t spend my entire day reading. First, I got interrupted by checking on the eldest daughter’s dog – only to discover Redding (aptly named for her beautiful coat) had caught a squirrel and was proudly carrying it around for all to see. Couldn’t quite catch her to get a picture of that moment, but did get one when she laid it at my feet.

Then, off to get the youngest Grandson who bibble-babbled all the way home about many things including a request that I write the makers of Cracker-Jack and tell them that he wants prizes like the ones Grandma used to get when she opened her boxes of Cracker-Jack. Can’t say I blame him. My prizes were definitely much better than the stickers that he gets every time he tears open a bag. Stickers that are usually the same.

I guess I have just added one more assignment on my to-do list tonight. I wonder if Cracker-Jack has a FB page?

By the time we ate lunch, read one of my old Golden Book about a shy, little kitten (which I just gave to him), watched lego cops endlessly and humorously catch lego bad guys, the neighborhood duo was at the door and Grandson was flying out the door. At least he remember to fly back in and hug me goodbye with a “bushel and a peck” phrase in my ear and a holler at his father that he was going to the neighbor’s.

I gathered my things and smiled. That part of my past hasn’t changed in my daughter’s neighborhood. Kids running outside – cutting through the neighbors’ backyards (who don’t seem to mind in the least) – bikes lying at their appointed drop-off places, laughter and screams from the creek (crick, to some of us) or tree house – and games of pretend that internalize their thoughts and perceptions of this crazy world…not to mention…the give and take of everyday interaction with friends.

It is good to be interrupted sometimes.

When I come home, I tackle the reading again. Pulling out old books – reading copied notes – googling new sites. Right now, it is the resurrection of Christ that keeps me seeking. I’m not sure why. Perhaps because I have noticed little things that I never noticed before. I’m sure that somewhere or at some time – a teacher-preacher mentioned these things, but they got lost in the crevices of the overall amazing change that shook the world 2000+ years ago and my innate awe of Our Father.

No matter how many times I’ve read the story – the verses – the words – I continually learn something new. Perhaps, after yesterday’s blog, I should say – that the scroll continues to unroll a few new things to enhance the goodness that I see in my day at this moment. However, I am glad I have books and websites to research. Can’t imagine how much more complicated it would be to have to unroll a scroll to find that tiny piece information that I can’t remember or hadn’t noticed before now.

So – with head spinning with new thoughts – I went out and collected some of God’s beauties. Put them in one of mom’s old vases while absorbing the song of the birds and the panting of tired dogs in the stillness of a late Southern afternoon. The smells and sights after a few days of clouds and rain always seem like a miracle in themselves. That old hymn rose to my thoughts as I arranged the flowers, and I felt blessed all over again.

“For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For thyself, best Gift Divine,
to the world so freely given,
for that great, great love of thine,
peace on earth, and joy in heaven:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.”~Pierpoint/Kocher [google images]

I BELIEVE

Believe-1Today was a day of contrasts. The kid who has spent the past two days in melt-down mode found the laughter button. Warm sunshine played hide and seek with rain-heavy, dark clouds. A secular world intrusion into my day made me smile while a spiritual world experience brought tears. It is Wednesday. Hump day. Half of my work week is complete. I can start looking forward to the Grands coming for their 2nd overnight stay, and (once they are gone) finishing the painting of the master bedroom. Play and work. Meditation and activity. Silence and music. Books and writing. Tom Hanks and the Newsboys. For a gemini, it is a perfect day.

“Listen, you heavens, and I will speak; hear, you earth, the words of my mouth. Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” Deut 32:1-2 This lenten journey has not felt like previous years, and I’m not sure why. I finished my lenten devotional. Still reading others. Watching the skies. But instead of going quickly the time seems to be dragging, and I keep wanting it say, “Hurry up, will you?” It feels more like Christmas when I was a kid. Waiting. Expectation. Breathless. Impatient. Thinking that the darkness would never pass. Maybe it is all the crazy things going on in the world, Maybe it is all the signs in do-you-believethe earth that seem to be replicating passages in the Bible. Maybe it is all the movies, music and books that seem to be shouting the name of G-d to the whole world. Roma Downy, not content to just do movies shouting His holiness, is planning a new version of “Touched by an Angel” TV show for next September. Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Jn 13:7 We never know what lies ahead; it is only in hindsight that we see the road plainly. We walk our paths. Share our gifts. Raise our families. Pray for our families, others and ourselves. Stumble over rocks during our testing periods and bandage the bloody parts until they heal. I don’t understand why I awake expectantly every day or go to sleep with one eye looking out the window. I don’t know why I feel like I need to read more and more and more. I don’t know why I cry almost everytime I hear the song, “We Believe” by the Newsboys. I just know that I do and my heart is soaring higher every day. I believe. [google images and Akiane’s artwork]   Faithfulness_by_Akiane

RESURRECTION

10953672_846323232080949_375399929_nFinished The Grave Robber by Mark Batterson tonight. I was actually trying to drag it out so it would last throughout the Lenten season, but every time I opened the book, I just couldn’t keep my eyes from straying to one more page – one more segment – one more chapter. Mark Batterson is passing on a message. There is a Grave Robber, and He robbed the grave – not once – but twice.

“Jesus said to her [Martha], “I am the resurrection and the life.”~Jn 11:25

No pussy-footing around at this point. No subtle metaphors. Just a statement of fact; “I am the resurrection…” Can you imagine standing next to a man you have known for awhile and listening to these words come out of his mouth? Can you put yourself in that moment? How would you react?

I keep trying to picture myself in Martha and Mary’s place. Resurrection? What batterson_sharpie_5x5WEB__52543.1415291539.500.750the heck does he mean by that anyway? Did they already know – deep within themselves – that Rabbi Yeshua was the Messiah or were they still trying to get their head around the fact that he MIGHT be the Messiah? People had been talking about the Messiah for years. Every generation thinks the Messiah will come to them. How many doubts darted around their minds every day? I like to think if I were in their shoes, I wouldn’t think he was crazy and look around to see if others were thinking the same thing. I like to think I would have the discernment to see the Messiah standing right in front of me. But, truth be told, I’m not sure I would. I’m a pretty healthy skeptic, and no one in this world raises anyone from the dead.

In that moment, the Grave Robber looks at the sisters of Lazarus and through his own tears reveals the truth of who He truly is. “I am the resurrection and the life.” He knows what lays ahead as He says these words. Are his tears just for Lazarus, or are they also for another moment that is coming all too soon? The people gathered by the tomb are the ones cloest to him. He loves them well. He bore all the temptations, pain and fears of any man that had walked earth for 33 years…maybe more. But…and this is the stumbling block for many – he was the WORD. He had prepared the soil for this exact moment. Parables and smaller miracles had tilled and fertized in the soil of these people. It was time to plant the seed and see if it would bear fruit.

“Jesus said to her, “…whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Jn 11:26

I wonder if Matha hesitated at this crucial moment. I wonder if she looked at Mary and the others before she answered. I wonder how I would have answered Rabbi Yeshua in that exact moment. I hope, I pray once again that I would have had a Matha moment and replied as strongly and confidently as she did because it is a question he asks of all of us…….even in our oh-so-wise-technologically-advanced society……..today. “Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” Jn 11:27

[Google images]graave robber

 

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

A Living Epitaph

A Living Epitaph – sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it?

Death surrounds us.  We lose family, friends, acquaintances, loved ones, pets, co-workers, even celebrities (those people we don’t really “know”, but are somehow a part of our life), and in my case…sadly, former students.  Just a part of life throughout our journey upon this muddy sphere of life.  Our periods of mourning varies depending on the person and their personality.  For me, cutting my hair, music, crying buckets upon buckets of tears, building a memorial, and spiritual introspection all seem to be part of my mourning process.  Don’t ask me why, it is just me.  Maybe it is also why I am fascinated by epitaphs – although there is nothing special on our own family stones.  

George Washington:  (1732-1799) – Looking into the portals of eternity teaches That the Brotherhood of Man is Inspired by God’s WORD; Then all prejudice of race vanishes away. 

I tend to think that music is the Light that is always in my transitory hallway of mourning.  It echoes down that darken space where the lights are almost non-existent and scary shadows stretch up the walls.  It beckons me forward when I really don’t want to move.  If I listen, it encourages my steps, inch-by-tiny inch. Its harmonies, melodies, accompaniments, harmonic overtones, dissonances waft around me until I am ready to open a new door in my life and walk through.  When my father died, I filled my life with classical music.  Requiems – masses – in particular, the B-Minor Mass by Bach and Bernstein’s Mass.  My college choir sang the B-Minor Mass  just a few months after Daddy died and “Simple Song” from Bernstein’s Mass resonated in my soul constantly – and still does.   I spent a long time in that hallway before my steps reached the right door to open.  Many years later, that transitory hallway appeared again when my mother died.  This time it was filled with spirituals…specifically the recordings of Moses Hogan choirs: Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot and Gonna Ride.  It was a shorter hallway for some reason, but still a very dark one.

Benjamin Franklin: (1706-90) – The body of B. Franklin, Printer, Like the cover of an old book Its contents torn out, And stripped of its  lettering and gilding, Lies here, food for worms. But the work shall not be wholly lost, For it will, as he believed, appear once more, In a new and more perfect edition, Corrected and amended. By the Author. 

Since the time my father walked me through my first graveyard and pointed out special family markers, looking at tombstones have always been fascinating to me.  Walking through old, old cemeteries is always one of my favorite things to do. Especially taking the time to read the Epitaphs.  Epitaphs are a way of summing up a person’s life.  Some of the great ones are written by the deceased before their passing.  Some are blank.  Some are short.  Some are erased by weathering over the decades.  Now there are even pictures and computer chips that can be activated by cell-phones. Epitaphs are as varied as the people that walk upon this earth.

Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior: (1929-1968) – Free at Last, Free at Last Thank God Almighty I’m Free at Last. 

I watched a movie this weekend.  In it the protagonist was challenged to change his life.  In the climax, the protagonists sits in a graveyard and writes two lists.  One was a list of lies that he has always believed; the other, a list of truths that he has found to be true.  He buries the lies and then writes a living epitaph for himself using those truths as a guide.  Those three words stuck with me all weekend.  A Living Epitaph: a sentence that describes who we want to be from here on out. We don’t have to wait till we die before we are “free” or “re-written” or “inspired”.  Because of Grace, we can be all of these things today.  We can bury the “lies” we believed about ourselves and become  – A Living Epitaph.  It is just a simple action of opening up the door and walking into the Light.

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;” Jn 11:25