Day 47: (4:24) the road ahead

27 04 2011

4:24: the road ahead

I cannot believe No, I can believe… that I am this late in posting my Easter photo–the final photo for “Journey to 4:24”. I took the photo on Sunday, and yet, here I sit… Wednesday morning, posting. Oh well. That said, here’s my post.

Easter is the ultimate example of hope, of life, of possibility. It is God’s unimaginable love for us, reconciling himself to humanity through Jesus Christ. It is God forgiving our sin, and giving us life, so we can live abundantly.

Easter is about the road ahead, full of possibility. Let us live into that hope-filled life, empowered by the empty tomb. (Even when we’re running behind.)

Day 46: darkness (Saturday)

24 04 2011


There’s a street near us –a fairly new street, I think–that is a shortcut home for us. At least when it’s non-rush-hour. But the street is new enough that its lights aren’t working yet. And it’s dark, very dark. Last night I tried to get a picture of the lights. But the combination of my camera-with-issues, the photographer-with-issues, and the darkness… the picture didn’t turn out as I had hoped. But it’s dark.

Day 45: it is finished (Good Friday)

24 04 2011

it is finished

It is finished. The day is finished, and there are many ways to recognize that the day is over–we’re in our pj’s, Kajsa is asleep, my teeth are brushed, the lights in the rest of the house are turned out, I’ve closed my laptop… and, Abby’s collar. For many years now, Jim has removed Abby’s collar every night, to give her neck a break. Don’t worry–we don’t keep the collar on super tight, but it has to be frustrating to wear a collar all the time. So every night, Abby’s collar is removed, and placed by the door, ready for tomorrow. The day is finished.

Jesus said those words, “It is finished”, in John 19:30, part of the two chapters (John 18 & 19.) read at the Good Friday service. Then he died. “It is finished” referred to more than the day. In fact, the day wasn’t finished. But for those who loved Jesus, the hope was finished, the ministry was finished, their friend and Lord was finished… and, they probably feared, they were finished.

In fact, it was fulfilled–the scriptural prophecies, the mission Jesus had from God to bring love and forgiveness. Fulfilled, but not gone. Finished, as in fulfilled and accomplished. But not gone. Far from gone…

Day 44: hands and feet (Thursday)

24 04 2011

hands and feet

Maundy Thursday. The day in the Christian church calendar when we remember Jesus’ last supper with his disciples–and the commandment he gave his disciples–to love one another. Loving as Jesus loved.

Kajsa and I made these handprints and footprints the other day from chalk and water. Thursday, walking home from the Maundy Thursday service, I was touched by the amount of hands and feet, “printed” over part of the driveway. It’s fun and cute, and Kajsa loved seeing the prints–until the rain washed them away. But aside from that, it was a good reminder to me of how I, and all followers of Jesus Christ, are called to be hands and feet. We are commanded to love–and mostly the kind of love Jesus referred to isn’t simple, or easy, or fun. It’s definitely harder than chalk-prints in the driveway.

Loving as Jesus commands often includes our hands and feet–literally and figuratively. It doesn’t guarantee positive results. Sometimes it goes all wrong. But the commandment is still there.

How is God calling you to be his hands and feet these days?

Day 43: the crosses I wear

20 04 2011

John 12:27-36.


I love the crosses I wear. Many were gifts from people I care about, several were crosses I bought while visiting somewhere special, others were simply something I liked in a store with no special significance—just a cross I like. There are some days when I have a hard time deciding what cross to wear, because I like them all so much.

Now that I’m in Holy Week, and the remembrance of THE cross is getting closer, I’m realizing something embarrassing: when I put on various crosses, I rarely think about the cross Jesus died on. Rather, I think about where the cross is from, who gave it to me, and what situation or event it reminds me of in my own life.

I’ll set aside my guilt for a moment–the guilt over not focusing on THE cross when I wear my crosses. And I’ll do a bit more reflecting over the rest of this week. The cross that Jesus carried and died upon, was from the Holy Land. It was given to him by religious leaders, soldiers, ordinary people. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it was a gift to Jesus.

The cross was, and is, a gift from Jesus. To us. Though he probably had moments of concern (12:27), this time—the cross—was the reason he came. To glorify God by saving the world.

Day 42: seeing Jesus

19 04 2011

seeing Jesus

“We want to see Jesus.”

This is what some Greeks said to Philip, in today’s scripture passage. (John 12:20-26) These “Greeks” weren’t necessarily from Greece—the word Greek was sometimes used to refer to non-Jews. Gentiles. Whoever they were, “Greeks” approach Philip and say, “We want to see Jesus.” Philip, not finding his copy of “How to talk to ‘Greeks’ about Jesus”, turns to Philip. And they both turn to Jesus.

Instead of giving simple advice, Jesus talks about his hour of glorification. In other words, it’s time for Jesus to die, and to rise, and to be exalted and return to God. It’s time for the cross. It’s Holy Week. Only they didn’t know it as that, yet.

Fast forward many centuries—it’s Holy Week 2011. And this afternoon, I saw Jesus. I was actually invited to church for Easter–a different church.  A friend and I, and our kids, were at a coffee shop housed in this local church. We were packing up to go, and a little boy—maybe six or seven years old—approached us. He had played a bit with the kids, so I didn’t think anything of it. Then he showed me a post card, and said, “you can come back here on Sunday.” I looked at the card, and saw the worship service times listed for Easter Sunday, and smiled. Thank you, I said.. that’s so nice of you to invite me. I already have a church that I’ll be going to on Sunday.

“But you can see this service…” he said, pointing to the card again. Thank you, I said again. I’m a pastor at a different church, so I’ll be going to that one on Easter Sunday. But thanks again for the invitation. He moved on to my friend.

Who knows what this kid was really thinking. Maybe he was being coached by adults, maybe he just picked up the postcard and thought we seemed like nice people. Or maybe he loves his church and loves his Jesus. He seemed quite earnest and excited to invite us to church on Sunday.

Are we this bold, earnest, and excited to share the faith and worship that we participate in? And, if non-Christians were to approach us and say “I want to see Jesus”, how would we respond? How would we explain and show the meaning of Jesus’ glorification on the cross, as we walk through this Holy Week?

Day 41: out of control

18 04 2011

out of control

Out of control. No, I’m not talking about the dandelions. I’m not even going to try to get rid of dandelions. I’m talking about the child’s clothing choices for the day. It was a battle I was prepared to fight over early on in the morning… then I realized, I didn’t need to fight it. As long as she didn’t go out in public like this. Ok, some of you might be thinking, what’s the harm? so the kid insisted on wearing her tie-dyed leggings and other-color-toned-striped shirt…. big deal. Then add the cow gloves. Big deal, right? You’re probably right. (Maybe you can’t see the outfit well enough.. try going here for a better view.) And there are plenty of times when she goes out in outfits I cringe at, because they don’t quite match as much as I’d like… but, oh well. I managed to survive morning.

That aside… what does this have to do with Holy Week? This: the Pharisees said that it was all out of control. Their tactics were getting them nowhere. The crowds, the world, “everybody” was following Jesus. (This week I’m photographing/blogging about a different passage each day. Today’s is: John 12:9-19.) Try as they may, they, the Pharisees, just couldn’t seem to get things under control. This Jesus fellow was too charismatic… he raised that Lazarus guy from the dead, and now, everyone was giving Jesus a parade. What could they do?

As we know, they tried. They tried to get it under control. And they thought they had succeeded. The joke was on them, however. And by “them”, I don’t just mean the Pharisess. I mean anybody and everybody who thought that Jesus was mere mortal, only a celebrity of the weirdest, though most compassionate, kind…

Out of control? Definitely.

The Pharisees had less control over Jesus than I have over Kajsa’s outfit matching tomorrow morning… or of dandelions not coming up in our yard next week.

(p.s. for those who think I should let Kajsa wear whatever she wants, however poorly it matches: don’t worry… some days I will. And for those who think I should do a better job of setting out matching choices before she gets to her clothing drawers: don’t sorry… some days I will.)

pictures… non-Lent-related

17 04 2011

Day 40: you’re taking me where?

17 04 2011

youre taking me where?

Donkeys are supposedly stubborn. At least that’s the stereotype. So I wonder how much resistance the two disciples met with, when they untied the donkey/colt from wherever it was tied up, and took it to Jesus. I don’t know that I’ve ever been responsible for leading a donkey anywhere…. I can’t think of a time. But obviously the donkey ended up going on the journey, carrying Jesus into Jerusalem. So, stubborn or not, the donkey played a key role in what we call “Palm Sunday”.

I’d love to know (a) what that donkey was thinking as it was being led to Jesus, and (b) what it had to say after the day was over. And, maybe (c) if Jesus and the disciples talked to the donkey at all. or rubbed its nose… or fed it anything.. or scratched its ears…

Day 39: save now

16 04 2011

Save BIG. Big savings. Save now. Save 10%. Save 50%. Save more than the other place. Save by doing ______ now. Save, save, save… savings. Even before our economy went downhill, our culture loved savings. And we still do. But I wonder if we would truly understand the significance of shouting out, “Save us now, Son of David!” As Jesus entered Jerusalem, the bystanders shouted, “Hosanna!”, which means “Save now…”

We in this century can look back to that era and recognize that Jesus’ audience wanted saving from the Roman superpower. So it’s easy for us to say, “Wow, were they wrong!” But what do we hope to be saved from? And how much are we hoping to be saved from? Sometimes I think that we’d be happy if Christ would come and save only 25% of our lives, and that’s a big enough “savings”… because it would be too difficult for Christ to save our whole life. Too much work on our part.

Though God is more than a slogan, or a gimmick, we know that God does save. BIG. Now–and whenever we give our hearts to him.

“Hosanna!” the crowd called out. Save now!

Alright… Jesus might say. Hang on a few days, and you’ll get your saving. 100% salvation, for all who believe.