Tag Archive: easter


And now, for our optional prompt! Today I challenge you to write a fourteener. Fourteeners can be have any number of lines, but each line should have fourteen syllables. Given the day, i decided to go for an Eastery theme:

Easter, in fourteen beats

An air of doom and gloom has descended upon the earth
Friday night’s unfortunate events made Saturday tough
People dull-faced like zombies trying to take it all in
Listening for but not hearing any sign from above

And now, on the third day, will it be any different?
Do we hold on to expectation or simply give in?
As we gather with our friends, there is not a lot to say
Til suddenly, a door bursts open, and, “I have seen Him!”

Can this even be true? No-one knows what to make of this
His closest friends have already taken off down the street
Peter is quite fast, but John overtakes him on the way
Enters an empty tomb with nothing but a folded sheet

A group of fisherman at night trying to catch some fish
An instruction comes from the man they see upon the shore
Suddenly the net is breaking, could this possibly be?
Will they be reunited with their rabbi friend once more?

As He bids His final farewell He reminds them once more
You will be known by others in the way you show your love
With this message burning in them, Jesus knows it is time
He can ascend with confidence back to His home above

[To continue to Day 4 of the Poetry challenge, click here]

easter

When Jesus walked the earth, He called many people to follow Him. And the crowds showed up.

He spoke Truth and Life. He reached out to those at the margins, which in His day included women and children, Samaritans [the foreigner], the diseased and more… He performed miracles… He saved lives people were wanting to kill and He even raised some people from the dead. And the crowds cheered and pushed to get closer to hear His words and touch Him to receive some of that power.

He said, “I have come to show you how it is possible to live a God-following life in its entirety in a way that loves God, loves people and takes care of the earth we live on.” The crowd nodded.

Jesus said, “Follow Me, do what I do, and you will know life to the absolute fullest.” The crowd chanted their approval, waving palm branches and singing songs of worship to the One they had chosen to follow.

Then He died…

[and the crowd silently snuck off into the shadows]

LET HIM WHO IS WITHOUT DOUBT… NOT REALLY REQUIRE FAITH AT ALL…

Today we celebrate one of the biggest days of doubt. Jesus hanging on a cross. This wasn’t how it was meant to be. We were expecting Him to overthrow the Roman government and begin His new kingdom of life and love and peace. And yet for the most part, people looks defeated and watched as His blood and life slowly dripped away…

On the biggest day of doubt, it seemed as if the enemy had won and even Jesus Himself seemed to agree as He gasped out those words, “It. Is. Finished.”

He had also said, “Destroy the temple and in three days I will rebuild it.”

And something about “Your body is the temple of God.”

And on the third day, Easter Sunday to come, we will witness the big miracle, the victory over death and the hope of a better life to come.

Better life for all.

But today, as we look on the cross, we can be okay with our doubt.

James 1 is a hard one for the doubters among us:

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Although one wonders [and hopes] if the bit about “When you ask” is relevant in that piece.

After all, why would anyone need faith, if there was no doubt?

Faith surely indicates the presence of doubt, of questioning, of wrestling, of wondering if we have believed in the right one…

Otherwise it surely would not be needed, right? Then it would simply be belief…

Because Hebrews 1:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

Confidence and assurance. But also ‘what we hope for’ and ‘what we do not see’.

Do i believe in the Jesus story? Absolutely. With everything in me.

Do i have doubt? In the face of all the critics and the church’s chequered history and some of the messed-up-ness in the world and feeling far away from God experientially? Absolutely. A lot.

But i am comforted by Jesus’ interaction with this father who had a demon-possessed son that Jesus was about to set free.

21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

And while Friday is the day to look on the cross and see the hopes and dreams and ideas of what the world could like fading away into nothingness and despair and question and chaos and brokenness and pain…

Sunday is coming…

eastersunday

Bruce Collins is one of my best friends in the category of ‘people i have hardly spent any time with at all’ – our spirits seem to connect strongly when it comes to God and life and relationships and things and i just love his passion and wrestling and honesty… he has a great gift for writing too which is why i am reblogging this post of his which feels like something i could have written… so much doubt and wrestling combined with so much of knowing…

i believe… help me overcome my unbelief…

Barista Bruce's Brews

I’ve read so much lately that challenges the central tenets of what I believe: mostly articles and posts ranging from the horrors perpetuated in the name of “Christianity” to the rational short falling of what we hold to be true a followers of Jesus.

I must contextualise this post a little, too: on a purely cerebral level, there are many things that potentially bother me about faith in Jesus. There are many “so-called logical” arguments that challenge Christianity that seem to make perfect sense to me; when viewed in isolation, of course. Furthermore, I don’t believe that the church has always allowed us to engage with our doubt. Doubt, in my experience, has always been frowned upon. Guilt has ensued. I think, however, that doubt is an integral part of authentic belief.

I digress.

Despite all this, I believe now more than ever before in the reality of Jesus: God…

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DAY 40ish

Wow! Day 40. We made it… ish. Easter is still a few days away so may still add a post or two but it has been fun [and only slightly overwhelming] to do this journey with those few of you who have joined with me.

The Bible mentions seven things that Jesus says while hanging on the cross. I found this online site that looks at each statement [calling each one a ‘word’] and thought it would be a great resource for us as we head towards Easter.

Task: Meditate and reflect on ‘The sixth word of Jesus.’

The sixth word is based on Jesus’ words in John 19. 30 “It is finished!”

I have also heard “It is accomplished.”

Spend some time reflecting on the words of this Powerpoint presentation looking at these words of Jesus.

finished

[To return to the beginning of this series, click here]

40ish Days of Lent: Day 30-31

DAY 30-31

Okay, so this one is more for me than anyone else reading and following, but maybe you can figure out your own that relates, so forgive me my self-ness…

Task: Take a break from the somewhat stressful task of creating 40 Lent Observance posts in a row.

i think i just need a bit of a breather and on a Saturday when i remarkably don’t have anything to plan for tomorrow it feels like a good day just to soak and chill and finish a jigsaw with my beautiful wife and read some Terry Pratchett and get out and enjoy the sunshine and not compile anything for this.

Normal service will resume on Monday but hopefully you too can use this weekend to just chill and be a bit…

If you really are wanting a Lent Observance maybe go back and pick up one you missed or redo one of the meditation reflections.

[To view the next post in this Lent Observance, click here]

DAY 28

So great to see my good mate Bruce Collins blog-posting again [so great i couldn’t help but dive in and steal what he wrote] and so i hope you enjoy this prayer to meditate on from his Thanksgiving Series post 1 and i really hope you will head across to his page and subscribe so you can follow the rest of them.

Task: Read and reflect on this prayer which is definitely so relevant and resonative for me right now:

Jesus,

Thank you for being in control; for being God. I desire to desire you. I desire to be in a place of awe and renewed understanding of your greatness. I desire to live for you and not the affection of man. Your power and your glory overwhelm. And your love? What is that love? Where does it come from? I cannot fathom it or even understand why you would want to love me. But, thank you. Our world understands fickle, fleeting, changing affection but your love is called steadfast. What reassurance. What peace comes from that? I desire to love you as you love me. I desire to love you so much that my life doesn’t even matter. I fear I have prioritised so many things above you that I’ve lost my comprehension of how deep and sacrificial your love for me really is. WHAT you do for and in us flows out of WHO you are.

I am grateful that you are I AM; God.

I desire for my life to bless you; to bring glory to you.

Amen

Don’t rush it – the point is not ‘getting through another post’ – take time on it, read it again, go line by line, focus on individual words and phrases if necessary. If you don’t mean it right now, then let your prayer be one of asking God to make that prayer real for you right now. Enjoy.

[For the next Lent observance post in this series, click here]

 

 

pain

DAY 26

Today has been a really hard day for me for two reasons. One has been physical and one has been mental/emotional/spiritual.

Physically i have had a huge splitting headache for most of the day and that is not normal for me, nor has it been fun.

Mentally/emotionally/spiritually today was probably my worst day on Facebook [and maybe being in pain already didn’t help] as i got into an exchange with two people professing to be Christians on the blog post my friend wrote about abortion, who just came across so legalistically and judgementally towards my friend and then to me when i stepped in, accusing me of a whole lot of things which were not true [clearly not people who know me] and just holding so tightly on to law with what felt like a complete absence of love.

“No, I am not condoning sin. What i am saying is that whether the person sinned or not, our response to them has to be a loving one.”

And so on. That kind of stuff doesn’t usually get to me which is why i kept engaging with them for so long i think. But then i think ultimately it did and largely because of the seriously bad name they were giving to Christianity. I came so close to blocking the one guy which i rarely ever do, washing my hands and walking away from it, but deep in my heart i just have such a love and hope for people that i really just keep believing they will change and encounter God and somehow get a glimpse of His transforming Love, that i kept at it for a while.

Task: So the challenge for today is to encounter God through some pain you have.

Now for some of you this may be easy as the pain, like mine, may be in your face. Maybe it is a health issue or maybe it is the loss of someone dear to you recently or a friend who just got really bad news again concerning their health [yup, me too!]. In the midst of the current pain, instead of running from it, take some time today to focus on it and on the fact that in the midst of pain God has promised to draw near and be there. IT MAY NOT FEEL LIKE HE IS. But He is.

Psalm 34.18 ‘The Lord is close to the broken-hearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’

Psalm 23.4 ‘Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.’

Joshua 1.9 ‘ Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’

And more.

There may be some of you who are not facing any pain at the moment. I want to encourage you to either look back to a time when pain was real for you or else to think of someone you really care about who is facing some sort of pain right now. And find God within the pain.

As we observe Lent we are heading closer and closer to the time when we remember what Jesus picked up and took on, on His own accord. We know that He embraced the deepest kind of pain and separation so that we don’t have to. Let that thought direct you as you meditate through the pain.

Let Philippians 2 assist you:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

[For the next post, day 27 of this Lent Observance, click here]

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