All posts tagged Easter

Not Ready For Easter? You’re In Good Company

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I woke up in the middle of the night last night in a panic.  I dreamed it was Easter morning, and I had forgotten to fill the Easter baskets and hide the eggs.  I almost got out of bed until I realized I had another day.  So I took a deep breath and went back to sleep.

When I woke up this morning, it dawned on me.

I’m not ready for Easter.

Yet in the midst of my panic attack, I heard another voice.  A voice that is much calmer.  A voice that assures me that Easter is not about me, it’s about something much bigger.  Something miraculous that doesn’t depend on my efforts to fill Easter baskets or hide eggs.

Here’s what the voice said:

Keep it simple this year.

I know, this isn’t very profound.  But it hit me hard.  Probably because life is more complicated than it needs to be right now.  Granted, I no longer need to deal with Easter Bunny Drama (I never really liked that sneaky Easter Bunny anyway).  Yet I still feel the pressure to make Easter a big production – to get distracted from the real meaning of the death and resurrection of my Lord.

Truth be told, I wasn’t even ready for Lent this year.  The season has passed so quickly.  In an effort to “keep it simple” this week, I’ve been reading about the last week of Jesus’ life.  Every evening, we sit in the living room and read about the events of the day.  One thing I’m struck by (with some comfort) is this:  the disciples weren’t ready either.  They didn’t get it.  They didn’t prepare for Easter let alone fathom the events to come.  But this didn’t stop Jesus.

I may not be ready for Easter, but maybe that’s a good thing.  It forces me to “keep it simple” – to leave room for Jesus to surprise me instead of getting distracted by my own efforts and plans.  To even embrace an Easter miracle.

How will you keep Easter simple this year?   Are you ready for the unexpected?

Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”

The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.  (Luke 18: 31-34)

 

 

Why Easter Matters To Working Moms

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We usually don’t talk about death on the Working Mom’s Devotional.  We talk about cheery topics like managing stress and embracing grace.

No one likes to talk about death.

But I can’t help myself today.  Good Friday is a day to talk about death.  It’s a bittersweet day.  “A sad and happy day” as my children would say.

As I look at all the hats I wear and roles I juggle, I wonder why. Why does it really matter?  What’s the point of this thing called life if it’s all going to end?

I didn’t used to think much about death.

But then I had kids.  I can’t explain it, but something about having children reminds me of my own mortality.  Like I said, I don’t like to talk about it.  But every time I tuck them in at night, drop them off at school, or hop on an airplane, it’s hard to say goodbye.  And I can’t imagine being separated forever.

This is where Jesus comes in.  He matters in these moments for a simple yet profound reason:   He conquered death.

I believe that Jesus died for my sins.   I also believe that I am not “ok” as is.  I know it’s not popular to go around and talk about “sin” but the fact of the matter is that I am profoundly sinful in my thought, word, and deed.   And one day, I am going to die.  It’s not a pretty picture.  Until Jesus enters the scene.

Today, Jesus faces death.  He doesn’t laugh at death.  Instead, he cries.  Death is real and ugly and painful.  Yet he loves me so much that he still takes it on. 

I’ve also come to realize that God is the ultimate parent.  We are not alone on this journey.  He too didn’t want to be separated from his children forever.  He fully understands the heart of a mother – the sad and happy feeling every time we realize this life won’t last forever.  Which is why he conquers death for you and for me.

And regardless of what happens today, we can look our children in the eye and say,

“I may not always be here.  But because of Jesus, we will be together in heaven forever.  I promise.”

Which is why today is Good Friday.  And why it matters.

Confessions Of A Working Mom Who Isn’t Ready For Easter

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It’s not too late to get ready for Easter. Trust me, I am right there with you.

I had every intention of getting it “right” this year. 

But I’m still not ready.

Here’s what I haven’t done.   

  • I planned to write a special blogging series this week on Mary’s last week with Jesus.  It didn’t happen!
  • I have nothing to put in the Easter baskets (I haven’t even pulled them out of the basement to see if I need new straw).
  • I didn’t even make it to church on Palm Sunday.

If I’m not careful, I may miss Easter completely!

Yet something is terribly wrong with my list of what’s “undone.”

It’s obvious. 

It’s all about me me me!

It’s easy to get so wrapped up in our worlds that we forget it’s not about us.  It’s about Jesus.  It’s not about the Easter candy, the “to do” list, or even attending a church service. 

Last night, in the midst of my “me meltdown” I started to read through the last week of Jesus’ life here on earth.  And I was taken in by the passion.  I’ve read this story dozens of times.  I know how it ends.  Yet I’m still hanging on to every word, waiting to see what happens next.  Jesus travels to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast.  He must soon say goodbye to his family and friends.  He must soon face humiliation and abandonment.  He must soon face death alone. 

And the flower of Easter will bloom on Sunday morning with or without me.

And for the first time in a long time, I start to pay attention.

As I prepare for Easter, I see that it’s not about me.   The temporary cares of this world can wait.  My “to do” list can wait. 

But Jesus can’t wait.  His time is come. 

Will you join me in preparing for Easter?  Throw away your “to do” list.  It’s still not too late!

Would I Recognize Jesus?

Was Jesus just a good moral teacher, or is he really the Son of God?  Over 2000 years after his death, there is still debate about the true identity of Jesus.

Even in his own time, there was little consensus.

Surely, his own family recognized his true divinity, right?

Not exactly. Jesus’ family even questioned his sanity.

When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” – Mark 3: 21

But surely, the religious leaders recognized his spiritual authority, right?

Hardly. Rather than concluding he was crazy, they declared he was downright evil.

And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” – Mark 3:22

No, it wasn’t the religious elite that recognized Jesus as the Son of God.  Instead, it was the unexpected – the uneducated, the fisherman, and even the prostitutes.  An unlikely group of followers.

I like to think of myself as educated. Even enlightened! Yet I wonder if I would have recognized Jesus 2000 years ago. If Jesus had asked me– as he asked Peter – who do you say that I am?  What would I say?

Many days, Jesus is right in my midst, but I still don’t recognize him.   There are too many distractions blinding me.  Work. Home. Errands. Relationships. Duties.  In the midst of it all, I even worry that I’ve lost my spiritual sight. 

But today, on Maundy Thursday, I’m going to try hard to see him.  I’m going to look.  I’m going to listen.  I’m going to think about the bread and the wine and ask God to open my eyes.

I want my heart to burn. 

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When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began  to give it to them.  Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.  They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us….?”  Luke 24: 30-32

Is It the Real Jesus or Fake Jesus?

Jesus enters Jerusalem with a bang.  After riding in on a donkey, did he keep a low profile and fly under the radar?  Not exactly.

Based on the gospel accounts, by Tuesday, Jesus was causing a scene in the heart of Jerusalem – in none other than the temple courts.

In fact, Jesus got angry, knocked over a few tables, and even disturbed the peace.

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. – Matthew 21:12-13

Ouch!  So much for not making waves.  Why was Jesus so angry?  Some would say that he was fed up with the religious system – a system that had become broken and corrupt.  A system that was charging the poor for “acceptable” temple sacrifices.  A system where the religious leaders made the rules and lined their own pockets.  A system where outward appearances had become more important than inward character. 

Sometimes I ask myself if our religious systems portray the real Jesus.
I’ll never forget the first time I watched our church’s passion play with my then 3-year-old daughter, Abby.  She was completely taken with Jesus.  And she kept asking, Is that the real Jesus or the fake Jesus?
It’s a good question.  I think Jesus asked the same question when he looked at the religious people of his day.  Were they real or fake?  Did they act religious on the outside, but on the inside, were they filled with selfishness and greed?

When we look at our own Christian institutions today, do we find piety for the sake of piety —  a set of outward “rules” and an obsession with appearances (while the inside of the cup is full of hypocrisy and greed)? 

Or, do we see something that looks more like Jesus – humility, grace, and generosity to those in need?

In Abby’s words, do we look like the real Jesus or the fake Jesus?