Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Magic of 3 Days

This was shared with me, and I want to share it with my blog readers. It's something we so often forget, as we try to make "everything perfect" within a matter of minutes or seconds.

The Magic of Three Days
By Patt Barnes

It was a beautiful spring day, and a sense of peace stayed with me as I left the cathedral on Easter Monday morning. I paused for a moment on top of the steps leading to the avenue, now crowded with people rushing to their jobs. Sitting in her usual place inside a small archway was the old flower lady. At her feet corsages and boutonnieres were parading on top of a spread-open newspaper.

The flower lady was smiling, her wrinkled old face alive with some inner joy. I started down the stairs—then, on an impulse, turned and picked out a flower.

As I put it in my lapel, I said, “You look happy this morning.”

“Why not? Everything is good.”

She was dressed so shabbily and seemed so very old that her reply startled me.

“You’ve been sitting here for many years now, haven’t you? And always smiling. You wear your troubles well.”

“You can’t reach my age and not have troubles,” she replied. “Only it’s like Jesus and Good Friday . . . ” She paused for a moment.

“Yes?” I prompted.

“Well, when Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, that was the worst day for the whole world. And when I get troubles I remember that, and then I think of what happened only three days later—Easter and our Lord arising. So when I get troubles, I’ve learned to wait three days . . . somehow everything gets all right again.”

And she smiled good-bye. Her words still follow me whenever I think I have troubles. Give God a chance to help . . . wait three days.

The above article originally appeared in Guideposts magazine. Visit the recently updated today.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Good Friday

Good Friday is when you come together as a church, and commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. An oxymoron (plural oxymorons, or sometimes the Greek plural oxymora) (from Greek ὀξύμωρον, "sharp dull") is a figure of speech that combines normally contradictory terms. What an oxymoron--Good Friday. Although, it does sound contradictory, without Good Friday, there is no winning of the laughter on Easter day.

Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Once again, an oxymoron, thorns composing a rich crown? My brain does not even begin to fathom how great this really is, or why my God would so this for you and me, but He has. Love and sorrow has met, and I am blessed because of it. So are you.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God:
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

I like these words. I especially struggle with the last two stanzas--All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood. Ouch!

We sing, "When I survey the wondrous cross" frequently at contemporary service. It is combined with another song. Many Sundays I've sang the following words:

Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

I know and love these words, but do I really mean it? Do I really mean that: God may have my soul, God may have my life, God may have my all, God may have all my stuff, God may have all my hopes, God may have all my dreams, God may have my all desires, God may have all my intellect, God may have all my (fill in the blank for yourself!) What do you struggle with giving to God? Readers please share so that we can encourage one another.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Maundy Thursday

"Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken."
Psalm 55:22

I read those words a couple weeks ago, and just thought, thank you, Jesus for your sustenance. Thank you Jesus for your placation. Thank you Jesus for your undisturbed peace and calmness. Last night at Maundy Thursday service these words were sang by the choir.

A lasting gift Jesus gave His own.
To share His bread, His loving cup.
Whatever burdens may bow us down,
He by His cross shall lift us up.

As the year continues, I hope and pray that my response to God will look like Psalm 71:14, "But as for me, I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more." God gave us Jesus to give us hope, now we need to grasp that hope for ourselves. It's not just a cute little statement or idea.

I strive to be like the psalmist in Psalm 73:28, "But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works."

What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the heavy cross for my soul for my soul
To bear the heavy cross for my soul!

When was the last time you heard someone describe God as blissful? According to the dictionary blissful means extremely happy, ecstatic, ecstatic of salvation. He lifts us up, by His cross. This seems like a huge oxymoron, but we know it's not.

One of the last hymns sang at Maundy Thursday service used the following words, "Heavy with weeping may the three days pass, To win the laughter of thine Easter day." Do you think of Easter as something you won, a holiday filled with joy and laughter? If not, maybe we need to rethink Easter and what it really means to each of us individually and to the world.

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. " Psalm 73:26