Guest Post Over At Reflections: The Messy Love of Easter

The Messy Love of Easter

My good friend Gloria gave me the privilege of writing for her blog Reflections this Easter, so I’d like to share the post with you all; and while you’re over there take a few minutes to explore more of her lovely blog!

 

Horrifying. Scandalous. These aren’t the words we usually associate with Easter.

Our normal thoughts fall more along the lines of pastel flowers, cute chicks and bunnies, and Precious Moments kids kneeling gently beneath a brown ceramic cross.

And those are sweet. Those are cute. Those are clean. But they’re wrong.

Because Easter, the whole of this great story, isn’t cute. It isn’t clean. There are no pastels; no, it’s stained in vivid hues of crimson and black and wretchedness and anger and violent love. Because Easter is nothing without the cross.

But so often we’re tempted to check out. We know the story, or at least, we’ve heard it many times. But we forget. We forget how shocking it is. How dreadful. Our sin is a horrifying, messy thing, and to think that the answer to it would be cute and clean and easy — It couldn’t be. We violently removed ourselves and were swept away from God and life and light; and only a violent love, willing to do and endure all for us, could win us back.

So lay aside your prior knowledge, your prior suppositions for a moment. Read back through all the accounts (Mat. 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24, John 18-21); it’ll probably take about half an hour. Blow away the dust of familiarity, and read this as a story. (The Greatest One which ever was.)

As you read, can’t you feel the tension, the dread, the rising anger at this injustice?

Read the rest here on Gloria’s blog.

Are You Offensive?

Are You Offensive_

I’m sure you balked at this title. I certainly would. “Offensive? Of course not! Isn’t that the exact opposite of what we as Christians are supposed to be?”

Because we don’t want people to get angry with us. We don’t want to be disliked. We work very hard to portray a pleasant image, a pleasing demeanor, and why would we want anything to disturb it?

And when that pertains to our own character traits and speech, that’s fine – good even. I shouldn’t try to be annoying. I shouldn’t use harsh, grating words. I shouldn’t be abrasive and loud, brow-beating and abusing everyone around me. That all goes against how we’re called to live as Christians.

But as Christians, we are called to be offensive in another way. Continue reading

Warning: Church Kids

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WARNING: Church kids, you may be in grave danger.

In fact, if you were raised in a Christian family, if you were always taken to church, or even if you were homeschooled all your life; your risk for this calamity is exponentially greater.

Because you may have bought into the Idea. That perverse, wrong, dangerous idea that lays its gentle hands over your eyes, whispering sweet assurances into your ear, as it pushes you closer and closer toward the foreboding cliff.

And no, this idea doesn’t have to do with relationships. It doesn’t have to do with schooling. It has nothing to do with your dress, your work choices, or even your vote.

No, this idea has to do with your eternity.

Because you may believe that you have “caught Christianity.” Continue reading

What Christmas Was Meant to Do

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A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

There was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.

You can recognize all these. Perhaps you barely even had to read them, they’re so familiar. They make us grin, they call forth memories, and they evoke emotions. Your heart is instantly swept away into another land, full of adventure, danger, and wonder. But very little of that is because of them. Just those sentences themselves aren’t much. There’s no elegant structure here. There’s no eloquent prose. In fact, they all consist almost entirely of single-syllable words! They’re not stories, they’re not chapters, and they’re barely even full sentences. Taken simply as words by themselves, they have little power.

No, we love them because they are beginnings. We love them because they herald what is coming next.

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (Luke 2:1)

And I think this is how we should love Christmas as well. Of course, most people do enjoy Christmas. Ask most people on the street, and — unless they are the living incarnation of Scrooge or the Grinch himself — they’ll smile and agree that it’s one of the most wonderful times of the year.

His soft little hands stretched open, reaching for the warmth of His mother. Red and wrinkled, His small body was wrapped snugly, safe from the bitter winter air. Continue reading

Loving Mondays: Reclaiming (Garden) Ruins

Left to itself, a garden becomes a disaster.

Plants start sprawling out of their cages. Bugs infest, leaving only holes and webs of leaves behind. Fruit sits forgotten, slowly rotting until it falls to the ground. All available (and unavailable) space is crowded up with weeds. And not nice weeds, mind you. Big, towering, ugly weeds, with roots going a mile deep and thorns an inch long. Basically, a giant mess, not even worthy of the name garden, except for the fact that there are a few persistent tomatoes hanging on to life in this dystopian world of plants.

Until a gardener comes in.

Continue reading

Faithfulness Fridays: Facades and Forgiveness

facadesandforgiveness

My life is a lie.

At least, it can be. We live in a modern age, where our lives are constantly seen and judged by our ‘friends’. But with the age of technology comes the ability to be more fake. We’ve always been able to fool others to some extent, but think of the new abilities photo-shop and the edit button have now given us. Do you know how hard I can work to make others think I am smart, I’m funny, I’m lovely, I’m deep? I have literally spent a day planning a “spontaneous” funny post.

Because like everyone else, I want to put my best self forward.

Even if that self isn’t me.

Because what you never see in Instagram photos is me losing my temper. What you never see on YouTube is me snapping at my siblings. What you never read on Facebook is me turning to my idols of relationships, security, and comfort for my needs. You don’t see the sinfulness — the sinful mess — that is me.

Continue reading

The Insanity of the Incarnation

Have you ever thought about how shocking, even scandalous Jesus is? Not even necessarily what He said or what He did. Just the very idea of Jesus Himself. The Incarnation is utterly incomprehensible.

Imagine if you were the richest, most powerful business-man in the world. Solely because you loved the ants, no, something worse than that, mosquitos, would you consent to become one? Continue reading

When God Isn’t Enough

That seems wrong, doesn’t it? How dare I say such a thing! God is the omnipotent, omnipresent, all-knowing, all-good Lord of all. He keeps the universe twirling, the waves roaring, and the atoms together, and I think He can’t deal with my problems? How presumptuous am I to think that He can’t fulfil my wants and needs!

And yet, we live this way. Continue reading