Bringing Easter Close

Easter hasn’t always been a favorite holiday of mine.  It’s usually chilly and us girls try to wear something special, perhaps new, and not fitting for the chill.  The colors surrounding it are pastel which aren’t my favorite and it’s just not as cozy as Christmas. On past Easter Sundays I’ve walked into church greeted by someone proclaiming, “He is Risen!” I felt I should be excited about it, but it seemed superficial. My heart wanted to respond with, “Ok, now what? We just wait here then? What does that really mean for me right now??” Over time that has changed. And as I’ve grown in heart, I desire to make Easter more in my home than it has been.

Not intentionally for the holiday, I happen to be reading Surprised by Hope:  Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, by N.T. Wright.  I feel giddy when I read it.  It’s a  somewhat scholarly work, but not difficult to read.  Overall it doesn’t twist my brain up too tight and even if it did, it’s worth it. I enjoy his use of language, his love of Scripture and the clarity with which he explains how the resurrection means everything to Christians.  I read from it 5-10 minutes a day and it gives me a nice little bit to chew on for hours.  This work has been confirming every day what I’ve been thinking must be true of the resurrection and new creation of our bodies and earth itself. I recommend reading it!

Surprised by Hope

Here is one of many favorite quotes from the book,

“We cannot relegate (the Resurrection) to the margins of our thinking, our living, and our praying; if we do, we shall pull everything else out of shape.”

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s kind of a theme running through my blog–I’m looking forward to the resurrection.  It’s the end of “The Tale” and the only one that leaves us with real hope.  This book fills me with confidence over what the Scriptures have told us.

Besides this book, we’ve done a couple projects at home to bring the season and celebration to our senses. First we made these lovely string eggs.  There are many ways to make the starch for these, you can find several through Pinterest.  My recommendation is not to use a recipe with sugar water.  It’s a STICKY mess!  I used a mixture of 1 cup liquid starch and 1/2 c flour.  The recipe here using Mod Podge might be even better.

String eggs

The other project was this tomb scene.  I found it also through Pinterest and since I have wheat berries in my pantry we used those to grow grass.  I’m hoping there will be some grass shooting up by Sunday.  We might have been a little late with it this year, only 5 days ahead . . . But grass or no grass, it’s nice to have this visual of what we’re celebrating and reminder of our still-future hope.  Yes, the cross is empty, but so is the grave.  Without it, our faith is dead and we are too.

Empty Tomb

Taken from an old post, here are some things to ponder as you celebrate Easter this year . . .

When you trust in Christ’s resurrection, you hope . . .
. . . for all pain and oppression to be gone, all tears dried.
. . . for your sins; your deepest darkest secrets, forgiven.
. . . for no more toil and tiredness, and fruit from your labor to flourish. No more weeds.
. . . for your own resurrection and a new heaven and earth.
. . . for laughter and light at every turn.
. . . to see children play with lions.
. . . to be beautiful, never spoiled or ripped away by the covetousness of a beholder.
. . . for all nations, a multi-faceted diamond, reflecting the glory of their Maker.

If we’re wrong about this hope and there is no resurrection, we are most to be pitied. It’s the greatest hope and the greatest risk, but to whom else can we go for a better promise?

Will you let your heart be giddy this season?  Dream with me? He is Risen! And that means everything, . . .everything . . . to me.

Christmas at the Planetarium

I never thought I was interested much in Science, but there I sat among children, craning my neck to the artifical canvas of stars.  We heard about the Sun and other planets, all fascinating.  We found perspective when told 1,000 Earths could fit inside Jupiter, and 1,000,000 could fit inside the Sun.  Hoping they would catch this wonder the first time around, I repeated these facts to my girls.

When regular ol’ earth showed up, my heart felt something like a song or a sigh.  There was something beautiful about the blue and green in vibrant hues and the swirl of clouds over them.

Back home from the planetarium, I read more about the planets and their atmospheres, or lack thereof; about what lies beyond our giant solar system.  The more I read and pondered the seemingly endless universe, my wonder turned gloomy.  We are like dust.  Our solar system is like dust.  We are in a sea of which boundaries aren’t found.  We refer to heaven like it’s just beyond the clouds.  We’ve been beyond the clouds and all we see are more planets and stars and black.

I don’t know God like I thought I did.  He’s untouchable, I’m insignificant.  I scream inside, not unlike the time I was small and thought I was lost in an elevator.  “Where are you? Why isn’t this canvas smaller so we can see you behind it?  And do you really see me?”

Feeling disoriented and bothered as my understanding of what can be seen expanded, my need for hope did the same.  

Christmas was coming, and good thing it was.  I was needing a good story.  But such a silly one, that a baby is our God.  We sing and remember angels heralded his arrival and are far removed by now.

Yet of all the stories, there is not one like this.  The world went on as always in its searching and striving for greatness and meaning . . . for the best story. Meanwhile, down to the stuff of earth, huge hands entered helpless and small, first covered in skin, next in what was available.  Smaller than dust from the moon’s perspective, it was a quiet entrance marked by a faraway star.

Whole Earth

Photo by NASA on the Commons

I remember how He meets me every day; a presence too big to see with the kind of eyes I have. I remember it’s not time yet, all will be revealed in the end.  It’s the way great stories go and I stop asking, “Why can’t I see you in the cosmos?”

There’s something different, something colorful brewing here.  I think that’s why my heart did something when technology allowed me to see earth from afar.  On the planet where life can live and skies are blue, there’s a different brush swirling over.  One of the dwarves in a line of 9 spheres, ours is indistinct, but kissed by the touch of God; come small, come flesh, come for crippled eyes to find.

The untouchable became touchable for a little while and gave us hope.  And this hope will not disappoint.

Is there any better story for a wandering speck of dust?