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Sunday grace

This morning I wept.

Over the death of my friend’s husband, her blog recording their three-year journey from devastating diagnosis to final farewell. Though they had prepared for this day, how can a heart get ready for this?

Over a different friend whose husband only had weeks from his knowing to barely saying his good-byes. Who tells us how to be equipped for such things?

Over known and worried-about diseases that threaten our peace, the wondering that gives no answers; the tests, therapy, surgeries that may provide some relief but cannot put us back together all new again.

Over things like time and space, differences and disagreements that separate families when family is the place we belong, where we find ourselves and become.

Over a world gone terribly wrong with hatred and anger, where seething erupts against the innocent and helpless.

Over those who cannot or will not believe that there is something better than this, that God sent His one and only Son for relationship, for the sake of love.

And my heart longs for Eden. For the beauty of the earth God had in mind in the beginning. This world does not feel like home, not in the shape it is in.

Then I turn to behold Christ alone, the fullness of God who came to live awhile among us. He showed us the Father, and it was glorious. His beauty out-shined the darkness, breaking the night with a dazzling light. His love was overwhelming, completely pure, unconditional and freely given.

Though broken, the earth still reflects God’s magnificence in mountains and rivers, giant oaks and tiny wildflowers, in birds and bees and babies’ faces. I recognize Him in each kindness and smile, in the tender words and a loving heart.

Though broken, the world will be renovated, renewed, redeemed.

One day the weak will be made strong. The restless will find peace. The sick will be made whole. The broken will be mended. The forgiven will receive a glad welcome. The questions will be answered. The tears will be wiped away. And we will be home.

Sunday grace.

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Sunday grace

The new day dawns grey again. Snow and rain this week kept Maisie and me indoors more than we like. I hear birds in the early morning, and from the upstairs window I see trees blooming white in the little woods.

But spring feels illusive.

This chilly day is Palm Sunday, the pivotal day in history when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. More than just an ordinary ride, He was fulfilling the promise of old, giving the onlookers one more sign of who He really was.

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
— Zechariah 9:9

Some recognized Him. Some did not. Some wanted to believe. Others choose to remain in their small world of skepticism.

There is so much to this simple story, the day of palm waving.

As people gather in churches to hear sermons about the one called Jesus, some will wave palm branches, some will wave away their boredom, some will wave at their friends, and some will wave away thoughts of tomorrow’s business.

All the gospels record Jesus entrance into the city and the beginning of His final week before the cross. The Jewish people were looking for a messiah, someone to save them from the tyranny of Rome, the cruelty of soldiers, the hopelessness of living without freedom.

They were looking for a king to rescue them.

Today we are still look for a rescuer.  Someone to make things better.  Someone to relieve our poverty.  Someone to raise our salaries.  Someone to give us what we want.  Someone to promise a better tomorrow.

No matter our nationality, our affiliations, our political persuasions, we want someone to come and save us, someone who will show us the way to a better life.

That Someone arrived in humble fashion on a Sunday two thousand years ago.  He came bringing peace.  He offered love.  He was hope.

But He didn’t fit the criteria of a king.  He was not the one they really wanted though He was the only One they desperately needed.

The One we are looking for is still Jesus.  He is the hope of all nations.  He is the answer to our questions.  He is the redeemer of our families.  He. Is. The. One. We. Need.

Wave the palms branches.  Lift your voice in praise.  Shout hosanna because blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.

The King has come to save us.

Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.  Who is he, this King of glory?  The Lord Almighty – he is the King of glory.”

Sunday grace.
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Revised and reposted from March 2015

There is a Redeemer

Day 16 of 40 days to Resurrection day

Today’s suggestion:

Read Exodus 7 – 10 about God demonstrating His power in Egypt.

Moses_CharltonHestonCharlton Heston as Moses in the movie ‘The Ten Commandments”

“Let my people go,” Moses said to the mighty ruler of Egypt.  But Pharaoh would not.  The more plagues God sent through the hands and the rod of Moses and Aaron, the harder Pharaoh’s heart became.

Nevertheless, God had a promise to keep.  He was in covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God does not break His promise.

The story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt highlights God’s power like no other place in the Old Testament. No wonder the man Moses is so revered by the Jewish people.  He was the mouth of the Almighty and the hand of Jehovah to bring the most amazing miracles into being. The great land of Egypt began to crumble as one plague after another fell on man, beast, and field.  Pharaoh’s servants finally urged him to send the Hebrews away because Egypt was devastated.

Yet . . . in the land of Goshen where the Hebrews were living there was a distinction.  After the third plague, Goshen and God’s people appear to be exempt from all the other horrendous acts of judgment.

Their Redeemer was nigh.  And God was declaring Himself out loud.

To Pharaoh and his countryman, He showed Himself as the all-powerful Lord over all.  The many deities they served were silent and powerless before Him.

To the Israelites, He showed Himself as Yahweh, I Am, the self-existent One who needs no other.  He alone would be their Savior and Deliverer.  He would prove that His word is faithful.

The events in Exodus draw a picture of what would come.  The shadow becomes clearer as we view it through the lens of the New Testament.

God said He would redeem His people from slavery and set them free.  With great acts of judgment and a mighty outstretched arm He revealed Himself and chose to take them to be His people.

Thousands of years later, the Redeemer came in flesh as a helpless babe.  He was the God-man who took the judgement and wrath for our sake.  He did it so we could be the Father’s children.

Only this time His outstretched arm was on a cross.

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Revised and re-posted from March 2014.