Archive for April, 2011

Two images came forth like the sunrise this spring morning.

I awoke to a crescent moon looking as if God’s hands had delicately balanced it perfectly on the horizon. 
The second picture was a memory of the deer carefully crossing our back field in the middle of the coldest winter I can remember this past February. They were cautious because each step meant breaking through the crusty ice that had formed over a couple of feet of snow. It was literally one step at a time.
Both images conjure up the hope that each sunrise and Spring bring.
Within minutes, Heaven’s hands began to lift that crescent moon higher into the sky as if He was pulling it up by a string. It acquiesced and began to fade from sight as it surrendered to a spectacular sunrise. Night had once again been replaced by light.
Getting back to those painstaking hoofs of the deer, I have recently observed the trees turn lime green in their efforts to welcome Spring. Now, those same deer literally leap across that same field. Winter left. 
Billions of people are currently in the midst of some of the darkest and coldest economic conditions in modern history. Like the deer, they have no choice but to take it one step at a time. For hundreds of thousands, starvation, sickness or war will allow them no next step and no chance to witness the sunrise.
For many of us, the dark and cold will give way somehow to light and Springtime. If we are given another chance, perhaps it would behoove us to remember that Christ told His followers that they are the light of this world.
It’s an honor to be the day in someone’s night and the “Spring” in another’s step. 

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Today would have been my dad’s 105th birthday. I wonder what I would get him if he was still alive.

He liked black licorice (the real stuff with molasses). He had a taste for vanilla cream soda. He liked Pinocle. 
I could put together a nice basket and I’m sure he’d appreciate it.
He also liked to reminisce. I could just give him my time. He would probably talk about the old days. Senior citizens are almost snobbish about the era they grew up in. For example, they’d tell you about the corn fields that were there before the houses claimed squatter’s rights. Or Dad might start talking about the price of a loaf of bread (again, the real stuff). Or, almost in bragging manner, there might be the story of how hard the Depression was and how World War II changed everything. Yeah, just sitting around listening to him might be the best present.
I might also bring my laptop and show him a slide show of his grandchildren and great grandchildren and comment about how their eyes look a lot like his own.
Better yet, I may tell him all about my life and that I turned out OK and that he’d be proud of my family and career. At 105, it might all bear repeating.
He might smile and say, “I’m proud of you and I love what you’ve done with your life.”
Yeah, maybe a good life is the best present I could give him. He sure gave me a good one.

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Whenever Lent rolls around each year, signs of spring appear that are designed to get us to think of the contrast between this life and the next.

A radical contrast is reported in the gospel of  Matthew. It couldn’t have been an accident that the writer butted the following two well-known stories against one another.
One is of the famous “alabaster woman” who poured expensive fragrant oil WHILE Jesus is sitting at a table. It was costly and might be compared, depending on her net worth, to her entire 401K. Maybe, maybe not. But it was definitely a gift of the highest sort. She literally poured out a fortune. This may seem a bit strange to our culture. Yet, I’m sure you’ve been there: “Hey, let’s get him something REALLY nice for his birthday – he deserves it and he’s a great guy.” Or, “I want to take Mom to the Caribbean for her 80th; after all, look what she’s done for us!” So, these people that stir our souls – we go over the top and don’t even feel guilty. We pour ourselves into the gift. 
The very next passage of scripture reviews the deal that Judas cut for the same Man. The contrast is startling. While the woman valued Jesus so highly, Judas’ valuation came in at 30 pieces of silver. 
One gave everything for Jesus. One sold Jesus for what might have been less than the alabaster jar. One could see heaven, one would see hell.
What’s Jesus worth to you and me? Do we sell Him or do we sell ourselves? This very day, heaven awaits our answers.
There’s certainly more than meets the eye in a lily this time of year.

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