The Secret Power of Scars

My son has glaring white scars that stretch across his back like an epidermal interstate.

When he was fourteen, he contracted a debilitating case of flu. After several hours, (before I knew this could happen), he experienced “vasovagal syncope” (from the strain of the illness) and fainted. He came around faster than I could get to him from the other room where I heard the thud, so, I thought all was well.

“Mom, I think I hurt myself,” he said, turning around to reveal second and third degree burns inflicted on his back when he’d fallen against our old-fashioned iron radiator. He was in shock, and I fought not to be. After one day in the emergency room, and a month of burn treatments, he was left with the lasting marks. Continue Reading →

No One Wants the Life Jesus Promised

church-820339_640Jesus came to give us life to the full but no one really wants that.

Think about it. Jesus had life to the full and so did His followers. There was companionship, laughter, and joy. There were miracles, healings, and the dead raised from the grave. Cowards found courage. The cold-hearted learned to love and apostles sometimes transported from one place to another in an instant.

But there was also rejection, suffering, and the pain of hard choices. Apostles were driven from cities, caught in storms at sea, and stoned. They were separated from loved ones and confronted by unfriendly spirits. There were beatings, imprisonment, and crucifixions. Death preceded every resurrection.

This was a full life. This was not the small living many of us experience today. These were great stories unfolding from deep lives willing to open themselves up to the full life of Christ. Continue Reading →

What’s REALLY Happening this Week

We play as if death is a parlor game.
Sitting around with coffee and dessert, we query one another –
“If you only had twenty-four hours left to live, what would you do?”
But death is no game.
It’s serious business,
the ultimate betrayer,
the enemy so insidious and dominant
God placed the job of defeating it on the shoulders of His only Son.
Death stalks us from conception
and whether we combat its shadow with laughter and revelry
or piety and reverence,
we all hear its footsteps behind us on the stair
reaching a cold hand around our mouths
or closing around the throat of a loved one.
Death will come for us all
but it will not own us – not every one.
This week is not about the arrival of spring
or children in suits and bright bonnets
or tulips and bunnies and chocolate eggs.
This week is about the defeat of our enemy.
 It is our time to gather in the Great Hall and thump the table with our fists
as we hail the conquering hero who
slayed the dragon.
This is our week to remember how close we all came to eternal destruction,
to be sober minded about our failings and our weakness,
to confess our vulnerability to the power of darkness
but then to lift our eyes, to raise our glasses, to fall on our knees in awe
at the One who endured
betrayal, false charges, humiliation, indignity, flogging, abandonment, public scorn, pain, suffering, and death,
the One who delivered His body up for us
so that when Death arrives behind us on the stair
and snuffs out our final breath on earth
it simply shoves us through the doorway that is Jesus
into a life of eternal existence beyond our wildest imaginings.
 “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said,
“This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” I Corinthians 11:23b-26 (ESV)
Death still is the end for some.
Some refuse to acknowledge Jesus as the door, the way, the truth, the life.
Some refuse to accept the forgiveness provided through His death on the cross.
For some, Sunday is not coming.
Some choose to stand above the open maw of the relentless grave and insist there is no escape.
There is.
Jesus gave up His life on the cross.
He died and was buried.
On the third day, He rose from the grave, triumphant over death.
All who follow Him will also be raised from the dead and through Him, have eternal life.
“”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” John 3:16-21
Come to the light, loved ones. There is eternal life.