Easter – 2023

Low in the grave Christ lay, Jesus my Savior,

waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!

Vainly they watch his bed, Jesus my Savior, 

vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord!

Death cannot keep its prey, Jesus my Savior;

he tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!

Up from the grave Christ arose;

with a mighty triumph o’er his foes; 

he arose a victor from the dark domain, 

and he lives forever, with his saints to reign.

He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

-Robert Lowry

Just What I Needed

I turned the corner to leave the cereal aisle and there she stood.  A teaching colleague from years past; a friend that I hadn’t talked to in years pushed her cart with the week’s groceries.

You know how it goes, after the initial surprise, we caught up on stuff. You know, things like family. “How are the kids doing? Really they’re that old!?” Topics that only scratched the surface to be sure, but useful for folks who’ve been apart for a time. It kept the conversation going a bit.

As we chatted a little more we dodged the folks trying to make their way to the Special K.  We rearranged our carts so shoppers could get by then the conversation changed. The topic turned to God.  Yep, it happened right there in the grocery store, next to the Frosted Mini Wheats. Right there among shoppers filling their carts with tomorrow’s breakfast, in stepped God.

Several years ago, she and her husband left secure teaching jobs in a stable Christian school to start up a Christian school in the same town, in the heart of a neighborhood rife with poverty, instability and crime. A gutsy move, I thought at the time. They said, a calling from God.

God calls, indeed. He’s a God that not only calls, but over the years he’s demonstrated that he equips and blesses. Over the years God has made that little school a blessing to the neighborhood. He brought the right people together, gave them the courage to take a leap of faith and through them multiplied his blessing and grace to an impoverished neighborhood. God was and is at work through the Tree of Life School in the Edison neighborhood of Kalamazoo, Michigan. It’s an incredible story, to be sure.

That’s about where our conversation ended. For me it was an important reminder that God graciously walks daily with me too, as I try to fulfill his calling. It was a reminder of God’s goodness and faithfulness right there in the cereal aisle. Today, a little chat about God with a friend, just down the way from the Corn Flakes, was just what I needed.

Today’s gift.

That Changes Everything

“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” Luke 24:1-5

… and that changes everything.

Happy Easter!

This is the Day…

“This is the day…”

Here it is. The big day has finally arrived. This is the day we’ve all been waiting for. It’s New Year’s Day! And, just maybe, by some magic of the calendar, by the flipping of the page from December to January, by walking through that door marked 2021 into a new year, we can finally put all our troubles and woes behind us. We can march onwards to a better future. This is the day…

Frankly, I’m sure this discussion has been had on many a New Years Day. Often we dial up that woe-is-me mentality and let ‘er rip. Woe and woe, trouble, heartache, you name it, we can find it at anytime, any year, no matter what the day. Negativity abounds sometimes. I know I’ve been there. The hope is that now that the new year is finally here, thing will get better. They certainly can’t get any worse.

“This is the day that the Lord has made…”

One thing I need to be reminded about over and over, especially when things aren’t going my way, is “I am not my own, but belong body and soul to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.” I know, it sounds preachy, but I can’t think of a better way to say it, than in the words of the Heidelberg Catechism. Looking backward or forward, he’s got us. Even in in our struggles and uncertainties, the Creator of heaven and earth is intimately involved with us and his creation. He is working with us and for us, often behind the scenes, and has everything under control, past present and future.

“We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Sounds like a stretch some days, but deep down when the day is over, hopefully we can look back and realize what a gift God-made days are.

So, here it is, Psalm 118:24, today’s gift.

“This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”