We Lived Easter Every Day

I’m enjoying my role as Keeper of Traditions in the family. At Easter, we have traditions that our family loves. Our favorite tradition is the crying out, “He is risen!” (and then we all cry back, “He is risen indeed!”)

We love Easter; the ham, the special dinner rolls, the hidden Easter baskets with Easter Bunny clues, the dyed eggs, the egg salad, the new church dresses, and the Easter Egg hunts all work together to make this weekend so special. Saturday night, we open our Resurrection Eggs and share Jesus’ journey with Bible verses.

What makes it even more special is that it doesn’t end Monday morning. We live out the resurrection every single day. We remind ourselves of the gospel every morning. Easter is every day. As Keeper of Traditions, that’s something I want to pass on as a mother to my children: We lived Easter every day. 

We lived as those so deeply loved by a magnificent savior who conquered death.
We lived as those full of wonder of a genius creator who provided access to himself through Jesus. 
We lived as those in awe of eternal life that begins in us now because of Jesus. 
We lived as those set free from the power of sin and death.
We lived as those crucified with Christ and living by faith. 
We lived as those filled with the Holy Spirit, doing impossible things. 
We lived Easter every day. 

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The Golden Egg

This morning our neighbors invite us to join them on an Easter Egg hunt in the forest. As I make my way past thorns, briars, fallen logs, and piles of leaves (this is the forest!), I find myself so full of delight.

Then, I realize I’m in charge of hiding the Golden Egg. I can hardly speak from the sneaky joy of it.

When I was in third grade, back in the 80’s, I once found the Golden Egg during a military base wide Easter Egg Hunt in Ft. Lewis, Washington. I remember exactly what it felt like to spy that bright golden egg. It had been hidden in the ivy, and when I found it, I held it up over my head and couldn’t speak. I was silenced by the excitement–the unbelievable happiness–of it.

The prize was a Cabbage Patch doll. A real Cabbage Patch doll that nobody else had and that everyone wanted. It you grew up in the 80’s, you know exactly what the Cabbage Patch doll meant to me. Even all these years later, I can’t believe it actually happened to me.

This time around, I’m hiding the Golden Egg for my own daughter who happens to be the exact same age as I was back then. This time around, I’m the one hiding, not searching. This time around, I’m the one giving, not getting. I’m making the moments for another generation, just like someone made them for me. The delight is just as powerful and just as exciting.

Growing older means that I get to hide the Golden Egg and watch the joy of others finding it. And what a joy it was! Early into motherhood, I felt the loss of my youth, but now, I feel what I gain with age.

I hide the Golden Eggs, and that’s better than finding them.

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With Every Burial, a Resurrection

Today, I recall Annie Dillard’s quote that I wrote about this time last year. She profoundly asks this about Jesus: “Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it?” I wondered last year what my life might be like if I understood this more fully.

What would happen if I did? What would happen if I lived my life in daily resurrection power? The kind of power that brings dead things to life, parts seas, brings down manna from heaven, heals the blind, walks on water, multiplies meager resources, changes one thing into another, finds treasure in the mouth of a fish, silences the demons, commands nature, cleanses, restores, redeems, renews, protects, provides. . .

Oh, if I did! Seeing my life’s problems in the light of resurrection power fills me with a sublime joy. I’m filled with wonder before a Holy God. I’m skirting around the hem of glory, daring to touch a bit of the magic that upholds the universe.

We invoke a power we cannot comprehend.

Easter of 2011, I asked God what has to die in me. I knew powerfully that with every burial, resurrection power comes. I knew that year that something incredible awaits, but it’s a passage through death and thorns.

The thorns around the vernal pond showed me this.

Finally, in Easter 2010, I learned that most of all, Easter is about love and grace.

Today is a burial, but a resurrection comes.

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In the Shriveled, Dry Nothing of It

Do you remember the Glorious Homemade Trellis my husband made for me for Mother’s Day last year? I love this trellis!

I loved that we picked out peachy-pink colored climbing rose bushes that I just know will one day cover the whole side of the house. We pruned, and three months later, we had beautiful climbing roses (but no blooms yet).

Then, crisp autumn winds and a seventh month winter shriveled the bushes down to nothing. They seriously seemed beyond hope.

Today, I check and find the very first sign of spring growth. How does this even happen in the face of shriveled, dry nothing?

I’m so excited! Keep growing, little rose bush! Grow strong and mighty up the trellis!

I’ll keep you posted.

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Winning Favor

Today I remember that I’m not fighting to win God’s favor.

I already have it in full.

I’m approved of, well-liked, and blessed because I’ve received the righteousness of Christ. God’s attitude towards me is one of glorious favor.

In Psalm 90:17, the writer asks, “May the favor of the Lord rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us.” I read also in Psalm 84 that “The Lord is a sun and a shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” God bestows his favor and lets it rest on us because in Romans 3:22 we learn that a “righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ.” We’re blameless and pure, worthy of favor and blessing because of this gift–not by anything we do or don’t do.

We don’t win it, work for it, beg, or bargain. We have it, and today we believe and receive it.

I wonder how a day goes when we experience the reality of God’s favor in our lives. I’m excited to see what happens!

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Be the Spoon

I read an illustration by Margaret Silf this morning about a beautiful potluck dinner she attended once. Imagine one particularly beautiful and delicious rice salad in a lovely crystal bowl that sits untouched by guests. While guests devour every other food item, nobody goes near the most delicious rice salad. At the end of the evening, it sits there, untouched and uneaten. So sad. Such a waste.

Why?

Nobody could find a spoon to serve it. 

Silf uses this story to talk about the glorious life in Christ we might experience if we only had the right tool to enjoy the feast that’s waiting for us. Christianity feels this way to so many people; they can’t get into the Promised Land because they’re missing a way to access it. They hover about it all, but they don’t know how to enjoy it. They need spoons.

Silf challenges us all to be the spoon to help make the things of God accessible to others.

Here. Let me serve this up to you. Enjoy this feast!

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Ride the Wind

Outside my classroom, it snows pollen. I watch as furry puffs of seeds, buds, and dreaded pollen mingle and dance in the April wind.

It’s warm and blustery. As I watch, I realize that this wind disseminates all the seeds. It enables what couldn’t otherwise happen. The design of it all makes me wonder. Wind is lovely! Wind stirs up the seeds and sends them where they might take root. 
What Great Design. To have the warmer air come and generate wind just as the seeds need it!
I also love watching the chaos of it. Sometimes, before our great plans take root, they must ride and swirl about till sent to the right landscape. It’s wild and unclear. It’s a dangerous freedom. 
We let go and ride the wind.
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Measured in Cookies

When you only make sugar cookies twice a year (Christmas and Easter), you can measure your growth by them.

This year, my daughters stay by my side. They roll out the dough. They cut the cookies themselves. They mix the frosting, color it, and put it in little artist paint trays. They want to paint the cookies in elaborate designs.

They stay till the end. I hardly speak; no one needs direction, correction, or help.

The kitchen isn’t a disaster of sprinkles and flour. Nobody bursts into tears. Nobody leaves after exactly 3 minutes of baking. Mom isn’t even tired. She might go fold laundry with all her leftover energy.

We’re growing up in this family. (I’m just thankful they still want to make cookies with me.)

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2 Statements by Children: Tired of Being Amazed and Tired of Excess

If you ask a child about what it means to be amazed lately, you’re bound to learn all about the cultural value of being amazed.

Everything’s about amazing them with technology, incredible stories, and non-stop feeds full of jaw-dropping photos and videos. It has to be amazing to rise to the top, to keep their attention, and to keep them interested consumers.

I hear a child say, “I’m tired of being amazed all the time by all this. I want to go back to being amazed by truly amazing things. Like God and how the Word became flesh. That’s amazing.”

I wonder if there’s an enemy Grand Distraction Plan in place to keep us so amazed we cease being amazed.

Likewise, if you ask a child about The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, you’re bound to discuss happiness, thankfulness, and simplicity. I hear a child say, “I’d rather have the joy of that small thing than become a person with so many things she can’t even be thankful anymore. There’s too much around.”

I wonder if there’s an enemy Grand Excess Plan in place to keep us so full we cease being thankful.

The children among us are feeling it. I’m beginning to listen to them more and more.

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How You Know It’s a Good Thing

I’m teaching students how to review something. It seems simple, right? It seems obvious, natural, and everyday to evaluate something. Films, restaurants, art, clothing, technology. . .

It’s harder than we thought.

Determining whether or not an activity, a product, an experience, or a work of art is “good” or “bad” taps deeply inside of philosophy, psychology, religion, and sociology.

We don’t even know where to begin because even our evaluation criteria needs evaluation criteria.

Students, for example, might evaluate something by the pleasure it gives, but who says that’s a good standard? Or what about usefulness or efficiency? Who says these matter more than complexity or honesty? We ask certain questions like:

Is it noble?
Is it excellent?
It is complex?
Does it contribute to human thriving?
Does it harm?
It is rare?
It is authentic?
Does it inspire love?

Even these words need definition. What is noble? What is “thriving?” Teaching in the humanities feels like I’m netting the air. Students feel this way, too. What or whom are we to love? What are we to value? Who says? What is this product / film / food / experience doing to me, and is that OK?

It’s a good time to reconsider the good, the beautiful, and the right. It’s a good time to talk to my family about the good, the beautiful, and the right. Does this thing bring me closer to God? Does this thing help me become a better citizen? Does this thing help me love better? Does this thing help me worship?

How will we know if it’s a good thing if we forget our criteria?

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