Friday, April 10, 2009

Farewell to Spring Break

We didn't watch a movie today, but we did go to Barnes & Noble. After a fabulous time there during which my son got to see several baby chicks and got to hold one of them (outside the store, in the mall), we went to lunch with my mother and later, hung out with her for a while at her house.

It has been a wonderful day and a fabulous week!

We've watched movies, slept in, had fun at Barnes & Noble a couple of times, and just had carefree time together. Tonight, my son will spend the night with my mother and I will go to the Tenebrae service at church. It's a little too powerful for young children.

But my son and did talk our way through this "last week" starting with Palm Sunday, so he knows the day Jesus was crucified and that yesterday was Passover, during which Jesus celebrated a last supper with his closest friends before telling them a very poignant goodbye.

During last week's homeschooling, he read several chapters in John and said he almost cried because it was so moving! I wish I could play a song by Bryan Duncan which really expresses the mood of those chapters...

I would like to say
Just before I leave you
I'll be back someday
And with me, I will take you
You will not suffer long
Only watch and pray
And wait for my return

Please know that I love you
I'll stay by your side
If only now in spirit
I'll still be your guide
You will not suffer long
And I've suffered for you
I love you with my life

Beautiful lyrics!

Hopefully, I'm remembering them exactly right. I tried to find the YouTube video but couldn't. But it is one of my favorite Easter songs, along with "The Easter Song" performed by both Keith Green and 2nd Chapter of Acts.

Anyway, what a lovely week!

And I expect a weekend just as powerful.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What Easter Means to Me

After Wednesday Night Supper tonight at my church, our pastor led a Bible study during which we watched a DVD presentation with Marcus Borg and Dominic Crossan. This week's topic was Substitutionary Atonement.

They assert, and I agree, that Jesus gave his life as a sacrifice. He believed in his mission and his message so much that he stuck to his guns, so to speak, even though he knew it would probably lead to his death. The same could be said of Martin Luther King, Jr. or Ghandi. So his life was a sacrifice.

But not a substitute.

In fact, they make the point that part of Jesus' message was to let people know that instead of having to go to the temple to make a sacrifice and seek forgiveness through the high priest, they each had individual access to God and always had.

During the discussion afterward, the analogy I used was that it's like moving to a new place where the electricity has been turned on but the people moving in don't know it. So they don't flip the switch. And they remain in the dark.

One of the other people in the group asked, basically, "if Jesus didn't die for our sins, then do you still have to believe in him to go to heaven?".

The prevailing theme of the group's responses was that Jesus had a lot to say about how we should live and what impact a loving relationship with God should have on the way we live, but he didn't seemed to be focused so much on requirements. It is as if he was setlling once and for all that God loves and forgives us and then, says, "Now, then, how shall we live? Here are my suggestions...".

He wanted to make it clear that Roman imperialism was not the way, and neither were greed or force or violence, but instead, the way is love. God's love and our love for each other. Which cannot be taken away from us.

And the crucifixion followed by the resurrection demonstrates that with an exclamation point and in highlighted color.

That's what Easter means to me!

The lights are on. Flip the switch.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Marie, thanks for giving us Keith!

Marie Olbermann, Keith Olbermann's mother, died recently (did he say Saturday?) and he gave a brief tribute to her tonight on Countdown.

She sounded like quite a gal!

But since I did not know her, what explains my sense of loss? And how did I go from really enjoying his occasional diatribes, loving his perspective on the day's news and laughing at his sharp-tongued comments to grabbing at my heart when his voiced failed at the end of his loving tribute?

It's official (yeah, like it wasn't before!): I.Am.A.Sap

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Loving Us the Way a Mother Would

Today is Palm Sunday. Though I can't say I particularly enjoyed walking in with the palms and singing a hymn all the way through twice as we waited for nearly the entire congregation to amble in, I did imagine getting to be a part of the original anti-parade, and feeling all the pride and joy as I got to celebrate Jesus. I love to see people be honored or celebrated!

My mind wandered a little during the sermon, but one of the stories he told, when I was paying attention, really touched me.

He was quoting another pastor, I believe, who told of a night his young son had had a violent nightmare. A nun had told him in school that day that if he "wasn't a good boy" (or something similar), he might go to hell! So after this nightmare, when his father came into the room, he asked him if he was going to go to hell.

His father said, "All I know is, if you're going, I'm going with you!"

I teared up at that because I made the immediate comparison my pastor wanted us to make. That our God, who loved us so much, wanted to be with us in our suffering. That if we had to go through it, God was going to come to us and go through it with us!

It reminded me of the time when my son swallowed a penny (imagine the horror!), and had to have surgery to remove it. I could hardly bear to leave his side and indeed, asked them if I could go with him and hold his hand while they gave him the amnesia. I'm almost crying just remembering that moment. Because, of course, they told me no. But they told me in cheerful child voice for his benefit as well as mine that one of the nurses would be right there with him.

I have to say that I understand SO MUCH MORE about God's love for me now that I am a mother!!

So I love it when my pastor makes those kinds of comparisons. I get it instantly, and with feeling.

And what a gift for me as we head into Holy Week.