Friday, April 22, 2011

Still Trying To Get It...

I said it in my previous post, and this post is just me still trying to get it. Trying to get--to grasp--the magnitude of The Lamb That Was Slain.

 4Surely he has borne our griefs
   and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
   smitten by God, and afflicted.
5But he was wounded for our transgressions;
   he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
   and with his stripes we are healed.
6All we like sheep have gone astray;
   we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
   the iniquity of us all.
 7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
   yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
   and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
   so he opened not his mouth.
No judgment here whatsoever for anyone who is dying eggs, etc.; I grew up with it, and it's all great fun. But for me this year, I'm having trouble with all the hype about "Easter dresses" and egg hunting, chocolate and the bunny. I want perspective. I want focus.  What's this really all about, and why are we watering it down?
image via
I teach a Lego class on Thursday afternoons at a private, Christian school.  Yesterday the kiddos all came in talking about Easter and the gobs of candy they had just gotten at their class parties.  I always start class with a few minutes of chit-chat to give them an opportunity to spew so that they will actually zip it when I'm ready to give instructions. :) So when we'd all circled up to start class, I asked them to tell me what Easter is about.  I heard getting candy, egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, and everything else you can imagine.  But out of 6 little 5-8 year old little boys (who attend a Christian school), not one said a word about Jesus.  It broke my heart.  Of course when I said that it is really about Jesus, they were all, "Oh yeahhh..." 

But shouldn't our answer first be Jesus, and then the Easter Bunny. Or maybe not the Easter Bunny at all? Isn't He enough?

I don't know. And we don't even have kids yet. I'm sure this dilemma will be even more of an issue then. 
Still I'm wondering, should we be trying to "balance" the fun of traditional Easter trappings with focusing on the incomprehensible sacrifice of our Lord? It seems the scales should be more one sided. Couldn't we create some new family traditions--ones more centered on Christ?
If you're looking for perspective, too, these posts challenged and encourage me...

From Faith Parley, Austin New Church blog:
"So between ages 0-32, I celebrated Easter the fun way: with bunnies, baskets, and expensive clothes. I mean, what better way to say “Jesus reigns” than dressing my preschooler in a $45 dress to show her off in the church lobby? (You’re welcome, Jesus. Be blessed.)  
Jesus is a redeemer, a restorer in every way. His day on the cross might have looked like a colossal failure, but it was his finest moment. He ushered in a kingdom where the least will be the greatest and the last will be first, where the poor will be comforted and the meek will inherit the earth. Jesus brought together the homeless with the privileged and said, “You’re all poor, and you’re all beautiful.” The cross leveled the playing field, and no earthly distinction is valid anymore. There is a new “us” – a ruined people rescued by the Passover Lamb who adopted us into his family and transformed us into saints. It is the most epic miracle in history.
This is why we celebrate. May we never become so enamored by the substitutions of this world that we forget."

Read the full post here.


From A Holy Experience, Ann Voskamp:

How You let your side be ripped open that our lives need never be split into sacred and secular.

How you were slashed that that our lives could be seamless — all holy.
That the veil in the temple rents in two because of You, and there is no longer a divide between the common and the hallowed and the whole earth is full of your glory and You are the continuous, unending, divine thread that weaves through all of the world, holding all together… even when you, Son, are rent apart.

And hanging naked and blood smeared and dirt defiled, You nodded slow and You said yes — You gave us your one-piece robe of seamless holiness and You clothed us, the filthy ones, in all your white righteousness.
Read the full post here.

{I don't want to water it down. I don't want to just pass over the Passover on my way to "Easter."  I want to really get it.} 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

And Yet He Gave...

As I was washing dishes Saturday morning I had the gospel music channel playing--totally made scrubbing the *huge* pile of dishes a little less miserable. I'm {learning} to choose to find the worship in the work. [Paul was laughing at me listening to this station, but I didn't care--I love hearing Southern gospel songs and the old hymns I grew up singing. :)] So as I'm washing away I hear this song called "God Saw a Cross." I'd never heard it before, and the words just really grabbed me...

When Adam saw his wife sin in the garden
In the distance God saw a cross
When Cain killed his brother God was watching
And God saw a cross
When Moses slew the Egyptian man in anger
God saw a cross
And when David chose Bathsheba over honor
God knew there had to be a cross

God saw a cross being raised on the horizon
God saw His son being slain for one and all
God saw His blood being shed for my redemption
For every fall God saw a cross

When I was born the world just saw a sinner
Oh but thanks to Jesus God saw a cross
And when I first rejected His great offer
I'm so thankful God still saw a cross
And with each wicked choice I walked in darkness
My God saw a cross
So blinded by my sin, my soul was helpless
With eyes of mercy God still saw a cross

And when I finally gave my heart to Jesus
From that moment of time until forever
When God sees me He only sees the cross.

It amazes me--I can't even comprehend--that God still chose to create this world, us, knowing we would reject Him.  God so desires relationship with us--relationship with me, who daily says No to Him--that He chose to create us, knowing the Cross would have to come.  He planned it that way. Before He spoke light, before He stretched out his hand to separate the waters and the heavens, before He breathed life into Adam and formed Eve from the rib, He saw the Cross. And yet He created. And yet He gave All.  And now, like the last line of the song says, when He looks at me, this mess of me, He only sees the Cross.  What kind of love is that? 

I am reminded: it is selfLESS, graceFULL love.
imgae via
Oh, to learn how to love with that kind of 
unconditional, emptied of self, full of grace, love.

Hands turning to prunes in the dishwater, the very next song that played was "Because He Lives."  God's timing, how good?!

God sent His son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal, and forgive.
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

What hope we have because the veil was torn and He rose! Thanks be to God. 
Colossians 1 
13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 
19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 

Matthew 28:6
He is not here. For He has risen, just as He said!    

I want to really get it this year, this coming Easter weekend, when we're traipsing to multiple family dinners and egg hunts. I have to stop and really take time to remember: God saw the Cross, and He raised Him from the tomb that we might have new, everlasting life in a relationship with Him.  This is the true, only hope worth sharing.  Oh, Lord, open my eyes and help me to open my mouth.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Taste of Summer

We were blessed with .gorgeous. weather this weekend! And we took full advantage of it--working, playing, and eating outside nearly all day Saturday. I made this {Honey Lime Fruit Salad} Saturday afternoon and ate almost the entire bowl by myself. scrumptious. Just the right mix of sweet and tart.  And it makes such a pretty dish, too-- wish I had thought to take a picture! This is definitely on my "make again" list.   

If you want to try it...
8-10 strawberries, sliced
2 bananas, sliced
1 20oz. can pineapple chunks in 100% juice
2 kiwi, sliced
1 15oz. can mandarin oranges

Whisk together & toss with fruit:
1/4 cup pineapple juice (reserved from can)
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon honey

And just because I think it's fun...
Summer Bouquet by Pablo Picasso  

Hope you soaked up some weekend goodness, too, and your week is off to a lovely start!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

She Turns Two!

Our niece, Taylor, (Paul's sister's little girl) turned two March 26th! Besides being super cute and funny, she's a huge Elmo fan, so Paul and I decided to take her to see Sesame Street Live since it was playing at the FedEx Forum the weekend of her birthday.  We had so much fun watching her dance and clap to the show.  And she totally melted our heart on the way home when she started singing--just out of the blue--"Jesus Loves Me."  
Here are a few pics...

Our beautiful Friday night date...on the way to Sesame Street!

Yep, he's smitten! and she loves her "Unca Pau."

Saturday we helped her celebrate with a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party.  Kelly had her in THE most adorable outfit (see pics below), and even though the moon bounce was rained out, everyone still had a great time.  

{Super cute wreath Kelly made}
{Pre-party Primping}
{Ready to welcome her guests}
{Check out those heels!}
{Taste-testing before blowing out the candles}
{Post-party--Singing "Happy Birthday" to get her to smile...after 461 pictures we had to do a little coaxing :)}

We love this little chica and had so much fun celebrating her 2nd!
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