Tag: Jesus (page 1 of 8)

Life after Easter

He is risen

Not so many days ago
We heard the phrase repeated
Again and again.
“He is risen.”

What does that mean now
When the Easter holiday has passed
And regular life has begun again?

Is it a phrase that means something on other days?
Or is it only for the one time a year
When we speak it with conscious awareness
Of the celebration?

After Easter,
Is Christ now back in the grave?
Like a religious jack-in-the-box
Waiting for us to turn the crank
And set Him free
To the tune of
“Christ the Lord is Risen Today”?

That’s how we treat Him sometimes.

I don’t think we know what to do with the resurrection.

It sounds all happy and victorious
For a day.
But go much longer
And it can start to sound a little too
Supernatural.

“He is risen.”

It is much safer to confine that phrase,
Those words,
That reminder,
To one day
Than to keep its thought
At the forefront of our minds
And force us to wrestle with its weight.

It is a statement that asks a question.
If Jesus is risen, then what will we do?
And what will Jesus do in response?

If we hide,
Cowering in the upper room
Of our own fears,
Jesus breathes on us
And tells us to
Receive His Spirit.

If we walk away,
Traveling far from what it calls us to,
Jesus strolls beside us
And quietly explains
The Scriptures concerning Him.

If we go back to our old jobs,
To the boat that feels constant under our feet,
Jesus calls us out,
Makes us breakfast,
And pushes us
To live out our love.

He is risen
And He is relentless.

Jesus is calling us to live
As a risen people.
A people who
Find the hiding.
Walk with the hurting.
Seek after the truth.
Deliver grace.
Cook breakfast.
Live boldly.
Love.

He is risen.

What was it like to be Simon Peter’s brother?

 

I wonder what it was like to be Andrew.

 

Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.” – John 1:40-42

 

Peter, in the spotlight, as usual. Photo Credit: The Bible Mini-Series via history.com

I wonder what it was like to be the one to hear first, to go get your brother, but as quickly as you find him, to fall back into his shadow. To be introduced not based on your own identity, but on your brother’s, for he, and not you, is the one called the Rock on which Jesus will build His Church.

 

I wonder what it was like to be called at the same time as this brother, and a few other friends…

 

“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.” –Mark 1:16-20

 

… but then to watch as those three, and not you, are called aside and set apart for exceptional times with the Jesus you love.

 

“After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them.” – Mark 9:2

“They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him” – Mark 14:32-33

 

I wonder what it was like to be Andrew.

 

Did he feel pulled between contentment and disappointment? Knowing that he should feel grateful for the position he was given, but wondering if he would ever be the one lifted up? Did he dream that someday he would be the one to preach the sermon that changed the trajectory of the church in the world?

 

When his brother and friends get back from that special excursion up the mountain with Jesus, was Andrew twisted in his gut because of the scene they entered into, that healing the disciples who were left behind couldn’t perform? When that scene began, did Andrew hope this would be his chance, his opportunity to shine and to be seen, and he blew it?

 

When Andrew and the others ask Jesus later why they couldn’t perform the miracle, was the question accompanied by tears? Was the tone revealing of hearts plagued with the deep ache of “why not me”?

 

A little while later, when the disciples argue about who would be the greatest, I wonder which one of them started the discussion.

 

Was it a discussion of bragging or of longing? I wonder if it was a question posed by those who had been left behind a few scenes earlier, pondering whether Jesus would ever ask them to be the ones to journey up a mountain with him. Questioning whether they should dare to hold onto hope.

 

I wonder what happened in their hearts when they heard these words of Jesus in response.

 

“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’” –Mark 9:35

 

To Andrew, were these words life-giving or spirit-squelching?

 

I don’t know how Andrew felt, but I do know how I feel: these words of Jesus are so much more difficult than we like to admit. 

Where is Jesus?

Image Source: jclk8888 on MorgueFile

Where is Jesus in Psalm 79?

 

Is Jesus there, somewhere, in the midst of the blood and vengeance and anger that seem so contrary to His teachings? Can we see Him underneath it all if we look carefully for Him?

 

Is He there as a lover? As One who dies sacrificially on our behalf, because without him, we can’t climb out of the mess of our brokenness?

 

They have poured out blood like water
all around Jerusalem,
and there is no one to bury the dead. –Psalm 79:3

 

Is He there as an empathizer? As One who knows how it feels when blood is spilt and God seems to have turned His back?

 

We are objects of contempt to our neighbors,
of scorn and derision to those around us.

How long, Lord? Will you be angry forever?
How long will your jealousy burn like fire? –Psalm 79:4-5

 

Is He there as a companion? As One who is present to love and listen when we are in the midst of our pain?

 

Pour out your wrath on the nations
that do not acknowledge you,
on the kingdoms
that do not call on your name;
for they have devoured Jacob
and devastated his homeland. –Psalm 79:6-7

 

Is He there as a grace-giver? As One who hears the heart behind our requests, even if the words themselves are ugly?

 

Do not hold against us the sins of past generations;
may your mercy come quickly to meet us,
for we are in desperate need. –Psalm 79:8

 

Is He there as an advocate? As One who holds up pleas for mercy and help on our behalf when our own arms are giving way?

 

Pay back into the laps of our neighbors seven times
the contempt they have hurled at you, Lord. –Psalm 79:12

 

Is He there as a transformer? As One who takes our desire for revenge and tells us to forgive not seven but seventy seven times?

 

Help us, God our Savior,
for the glory of your name;
deliver us and forgive our sins
for your name’s sake. –Psalm 79:9

 

Is He there as an answer? As One who embodies the mercy, forgiveness, and help we ask for, not matter the context?

 

Is Jesus present in this Psalm, underneath all the raw and ugly words of vengeance, as the Word itself? As One who speaks life back to us when we speak words of death to Him?

 

Can we find Jesus even here?

 

Over the weekend, I had the privilege of hearing Greg Boyd speak about how he believes Jesus is the lens through which we should view all Scripture. This is my attempt to put that into practice with a Psalm I would have preferred to skip over if I could.

 


That was my reflection on Psalm 79. Please link up with your reflection below. Or add a comment: How do you see Christ present in this Psalm? Then, come back next week to reflect on Psalm 80.
(Email & RSS readers, click over to my website to add your link or read the links of others.)

 

You Came

I have a new respect for songwriters and other artists.

 

This past Sunday, I wrote a spoken word style poem that was performed during our Sunday church service. I was terrified. Seriously. It is nerve-wracking to put something like that out there for people to see. I’m surprised I didn’t throw up.

 

So I thought, why not make it even more public by putting it on this blog? {Gulp} And take it up a notch by making it a vlog? {Double Gulp}

 

I’ve heard a lot lately about facing fears, so here we go…

 


This poem was inspired by the intersection of my faith story and the story of the man born blind in John 9. I hope it helps you think about what Jesus can do when He comes into your life.

 

(Note: I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to video. Sorry about having it oriented wrong. Hope all else works well. If the embedded video doesn’t work, you can also watch it here.)

 

 

You Came

The question swirled

What brought me here?

Searching

Wandering

Propelled by fear?

 

And then,

You came near

 

Who were you?

I didn’t know at first

But You reached down

Pulled me out

From the center of my worst

 

You came

Teaching

Healing

Loving

Revealing

 

You came

Put Your hands on my face

Delivered your grace

You came

Stretched into the muck

Broke me free

Released the future

And what I could be

 

You came

Generous

In the midst of life’s mess

You came

Light for my darkness

Companion in my loneliness

You came,

And changed my name

from “less”

To “righteousness.”

Your words poured out,

And streamed over my doubt.

Not to make it disappear

Or instantly make the cloudy clear

 

But to change

My heart

To rearrange

My life.

 

You came

Full of love with no condition

The way you saw

Restored my vision

 

You came

Into my crazy, You breathed peace

The grip of my anxieties released

 

You came

The search of my heart personified

The animation of hope that had petrified

 

Since You came

I know

I am

not dead.

Since You came

I know

I am

Your

beloved.

 


I am indebted to Maggie for her wonderful performance of this on Sunday at The Table, as well as her editing help. It’s an honor to be part of such a wonderful community.

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