Easter Sunday 2013

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Holy Week offers the template. On Good Friday Jesus absorbed the worst of what Earth has to offer, a convergence of evil and death in an event of profound injustice. Easter Sunday gave a sure and certain sign of contradiction, demonstrating that nothing can withstand the healing force of a loving God. We live out our days, though, on Holy Saturday, aware of the redemptive power of suffering while awaiting the restoration power of creation made new.

Scandalous Love

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Jesus’ love was so, well…different. It was scandalous, committed, utter, and “outside the law.”  It went to something much much deeper, addressing the inner intensity, longing and perplexity of us as individual creatures.  John Eldredge puts it this way,

“His ability to live with all these qualities we’ve seen, in such a way that no one quality dominates—as is so often the case in our personalities—eclipsing the richness of the others. To live in such a way that there is always something of an element of surprise, and yet, however he acts turns out to be exactly what was needed in the moment. Oh, his brilliance shines through, but never blinding, never overbearing. He is not glistening white marble. He is the playfulness of creation, scandal and utter goodness, the generosity of the ocean and the ferocity of a thunderstorm; he is cunning as a snake and gentle as a whisper; the gladness of sunshine and the humility of a thirty-mile walk by foot on a dirt road. Reclining at a meal, laughing with friends, and then going to the cross. That is what we mean when we say that Jesus is beautiful.

But most of all, it is the way he loves. In all these stories, every encounter, we have watched love in action. Love as strong as death; a blood, sweat, and tears love, not a get-well card. You learn a great a deal about the true nature of a person in the way they love, why they love, and, in what they love.

But it takes a beautiful heart to recognize the beauty in a scandalous act, and to love it as he does. This is why we say Jesus is beautiful. A Beautiful Outlaw.”

A series of quotes or quips inspired by the writing of John & Stasi Eldredge (RansomedHeart). 

Love Can Be Awkward

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Honest communication in love is the only way to live and grow in friendships. There are ebbs and flows. There may be real hurt and disappointment. But with the grace of God firmly holding us, it is possible to nurture and sustain deep friendships. We are designed to live in relationship and share in the lives of other women. We need one another. God knows that. We have only to ask and surrender, to wait, to hope, and, in faith, to love.

We must also repent. For a woman to enjoy relationship, she must repent of her need to control and her insistence that people fill her. Fallen Eve demands that people “come through” for her. Redeemed Eve is being met in the depths of her soul by Christ and is free to offer to others, free to desire, and willing to be disappointed. Fallen Eve has been wounded by others and withdraws in order to protect herself from further harm. Redeemed Eve knows that she has something of value to offer; that she is made for relationship. Therefore, being safe and secure in her relationship with her Lord, she can risk being vulnerable with others and offer her true self.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable . . . The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers . . . of love is Hell. (C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves).

A series of quotes or quips inspired by the writing of John & Stasi Eldredge (RansomedHeart). 

How To Describe Jesus?

ImageTo say that Jesus is perfect—as the “defenders of his glory” do—isn’t the right choice of words. A stainless-steel ball is perfect; Cinderella’s glass slipper was perfect; a haiku is perfect. Perfect makes me think of Barbie, a Grecian urn, a math equation. Words are important. Words shape our perceptions. When they define, they can also distort. There is a far better way to de scribe this man whose face is the most human face of all.

Jesus is beautiful.

 – Just look at everything he made (JS).
 
A series of quotes or quips inspired by the writing of John & Stasi Eldredge (RansomedHeart). 

Dowothy, Dis Ain’t Kansas!

ImageWhat do all the great stories and myths tell us? What do they have in common? What are they trying to get across? Wherever they may come from, whatever their shape might be, they nearly always speak to us Three Eternal Truths. First, these stories are trying to remind us that things are not what they seem. There is a whole lot more going on here than meets the eye. Much more. After the tornado sets her down, Dorothy wakes and steps out of her old farmhouse to find herself in a strange new world, a land of Munchkins and fairies and wicked witches. The Land of Oz. How brilliant for the filmmakers to have waited for this moment to introduce color in the movie. Up till now the story has been told in black and white; when Dorothy steps out of the house, the screen explodes in color, and she whispers to her little friend, “Toto . . . I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”

Isn’t this the very lesson of the Emmaus Road? You recall the story—two followers of Christ are headed out of town after the Crucifixion, as dejected as two people can be, with every reason in their minds to be so and more. Their hopes have been shattered. They staked it all on the Nazarene, and now he’s dead. As they slump back toward their homes, Jesus sort of sneaks up alongside, very much alive but incognito, and joins their conversation, feigning ignorance—and they not seeing it is him.

We live in two worlds—or better, in one world with two parts, one part that we can see and one part that we cannot. We are urged, for our own welfare, to act as though the unseen world (the rest of reality) is, in fact, more weighty and more real and more dangerous than the part of reality we can see. The lesson from the story of the Emmaus Road—the lesson the whole Bible is trying to get across—begins with this simple truth: There is more going on here than meets the eye. Far more.

A series of quotes or quips inspired by the writing of John & Stasi Eldredge (RansomedHeart).