The Pastor's Perch

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A Premature Pronouncement

There is that famous picture of then-president Truman holding the newspaper with the headline, “Dewey Defeats Truman”, which was premature. There was Mark Twain, who, while in England, read his obituary in a newspaper, cabled back from England, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” They got it wrong. I did too. My mother, in an earlier post, was near her exodus from this life. Well, despite her disease, she lives on, and she keeps going. She may make Easter, and praise God for that. The effects of multiple diseases have not stopped her. Easter is upon her as it is upon us all.

While Jesus rose from the dead, He did die, and all those who saw Him die, all those who saw Him taken down from the cross and placed securely in a tomb—all of them—got the shock of their lives when the tomb was empty and Jesus was walking around, very much alive, but with the death wounds still on Him. That is Easter: Jesus is alive; He is visiting His followers, comforting them, forgiving them, and assuring them that He loves them and that they are pardoned of their sins. He brings the peace that no one can bring, and He does it with His scars that remind us all that we are forgiven and loved and that we have a home with Jesus now and into eternity. He is risen. He is risen.

The Next Thing: Lent and the Journey to the Cross

The Journey doesn't begin with a map. The journey doesn't begin with a plan. It doesn't begin with the first step. It begins with a beating heart. Not your heart or my heart. The journey begins with Jesus' heart. It was from eternity that Jesus' saw His passion, His life, His death, His resurrection for us. But it gets really intense at this time in His ministry, near the end, near the cross. In Luke 9 we hear, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.”

Jesus was to be taken up, that is, raised up on a cross for you and me. And the journey was to Jerusalem, the place of peace, that the most violence would be unleashed on the Most Holy God, Jesus in the flesh. He would willingly die for each of us. This we read, and it seems so long ago and out of touch with our life here and now. But this is the same Jesus who walks with you on your Journey, and helps you as you walk, stumble, and helps you up, carries you. It is not your Journey, but His, with His heart to beat for yours. Put your trust in Him, He cares for you. He knows you better than you know yourself. He knows the path, and He has guaranteed your outcome, the end of your Journey.

Faith 101

Lent is half over, and I can see the plastic Easter eggs from here, but they are being swept down the way by torrential showers. It tests you when you want to celebrate and the outside world washes in like a tsunami.

Easter is about the Christ fulfilling the payment for the wages of our sin. He suffered for us and was punished for us. His followers could not accept that He had risen because they had seen Him die in a very nasty way. Jesus did not survive the Roman crucifixion. He willingly laid down His life and then He rose from the dead.

I don't have a really important Easter experience from my childhood, although my parents tried to make the Easter event memorable. But now I face a testing of that Easter faith: my mother, a lifelong believer and disciple, is about to complete her Easter journey to heaven. Her Alzheimer's and cancer almost cancel each other out as far as her fear of death and the unknown. For her, it is every day with Jesus, every day in that Easter faith that accepts what comes in life as life ebbs away.

At this time, she is yet among us, the living. Soon and very soon, she will be with all those whose race is run and course is done. Her simple songs she taught us come out and we remember her smiling face on Easter as each of us children successfully retrieved all the eggs, reminding us that Jesus is not in the grave, like the chocolate is not in the plastic egg. He is risen. And because He is risen, we too will rise to eternal life in Jesus who is our life, who has taken our sins away. Faith holds tight to the Lord Jesus, who holds us tighter. That is not swept away.

He is risen; He is risen indeed.