Tag Archives: Christ

But What Happened the Day After Easter?

Many of us anticipated an Easter filled with church celebrations, family and fun.

But what did the day after Easter bring?

Parents sometimes dread it. “Who ate the head off my chocolate bunny?” “He tasted my jelly beans, then spit ’em back in my basket!”

And those irresistible baby rabbits Mommy bought? They’ve already matured, married, and are multiplying hourly.

Happy Day after Easter!

But for some of Polish descent, this day rates a major celebration. The first spring I lived in South Bend, Indiana, I figured the newspaper headline was an April Fool’s joke: “City Celebrates Dyngus Day.” Turned out, “dyngus” was not a driver in an adjoining parking space who smacked my car opening his door, but a for-real holiday. Participants polka with a sausage in one hand, a beer in the other, simultaneously shaking hands with politicians. Lacking coordination, I opted for the ancient ritual of eating Reese’s Peanut Butter eggs, 50 percent off.

Munching these one Dyngus Day, I wondered what Jesus, Easter’s originator, did the day after.

Ancient roadside tomb in Israel, similar to that of Jesus

Ancient roadside tomb in Israel, similar to that of Jesus

Though some had accused Him of being a party animal, the Bible makes no mention of Jesus’ hobnobbing with polka-dancing politicians. We know He surprised women friends, including Mary Magdalene, on Easter morning. He also nearly sent His paranoid band of disciples into seizures, showing up despite dead-bolted doors.

But what did He do the next day, while they depleted their cell phone minutes spreading the news? While they rechecked their eyes at the optometrist’s and their minds at the psychiatrist’s to confirm what they saw?

After Passion Week’s agony and the Resurrection’s ecstasy, perhaps Jesus craved a little quiet. Maybe He sat anonymously in a garden, listening to birds’ hallelujah choruses, watching baby green leaves unfold tiny, tender fingers.

Or, since time and space didn’t appear an issue after the Resurrection, He might have visited the Sea of Galilee, 80 miles away. Perhaps He played on the beach with children He had healed.

I imagine Jesus visited his mother. The Bible does not place her at the tomb with Mary Magdalene or with the disciples when He appeared Easter evening. Did they tell Mary they saw Jesus? Perhaps, still incredulous, they wanted to spare her false hope. However, rumors no doubt reached her ears. They always do.

But nothing prepared Mary for that “Hi, Mom.” For Jesus’ strong arms around her again, for the still-wounded hands that dried her tears.

A skeptic interrupts my reverie. “Wait. How do you know what Jesus did? You weren’t there.”

No. But since I will live forever because of Jesus’ resurrection, someday, I plan to ask Him.

How do you think He spent that day?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: The Day After

Oh, my God, it’s the day after Easter, and the Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs are 50 per cent off. I’m celebrating all over again! But, Jesus, what did you do the day after Easter? Take a day off? You certainly deserved it. Did You surprise Your mom? OMG, what a hug that must have been!

 

 

Easter in March

EasterEggsMadEaster arrives in March this year. Does that just seem wrong to you? The Easter eggs we hide will have to thaw before the kids can eat them.

Still, faith can be found living in the oddest nooks and crannies of life—even in March.

  • Retailers demonstrate their faith. As if they are following some capitalistic Ten Commandments, they put snowsuits and boots on clearance. Defying the weather, they fill racks with golf shirts, tennis garb and bathing suits. They stuff shelves with Peeps, chocolate bunnies and pastel plastic eggs, believing spring will come. They stake their financial lives on it.
  • The young flaunt faith. At the first sign of temperatures above freezing, they escape Mom’s wear-your-coat-are-you-trying-to-get-pneumonia rant. On the playground, discarded jackets bloom like big flowers. The brave and brainless don shorts and flip-flops. But they’re already tasting joy. Their expectations rub off even on those of wintry disposition. Otherwise, why would we refer to tourney/blizzard time as “spring break”?
  • Track and baseball teams practice faith. If parents forced teams outside amid snow and sleet, the kids would call Child Protective Services, the Civil Liberties Union and ten lawyers apiece. Instead, they and their coaches believe they will have fun.
  • Ice cream vendors sell faith. With Easter approaching, small stand owners across the chilly Midwest unlock their doors and offer ice cream to the frostbitten masses. Near my house, Ivanhoe Drive In posted a sign reading “Fresh Strawberry Shortcake.” Carloads of shivering, faith-minded, faith-stomached customers have filled the parking lot.
  • Farmers and gardeners cultivate faith. Long before snows retreat, they nose through seed catalogues and sniff dead land like hounds, baying with gladness at the sight of tiny emerald spikes and buds. They believe with all their hearts, green thumbs and soon-to-be-aching backs that iron ground will nurture life.
  • Animals act out their faith, too. Gingerly walking an icy sidewalk, I encountered four robins huddled in a patch of snow. Did you guys make a wrong turn? If I had built-in flight available, I would retreat to a warmer perch. But despite chilly little claws and backsides, birds instinctively know they will build nests, hatch eggs, and teach their young to soar in sunny skies.

The whole earth reeks of resurrection. And we believe.JesusLivesPoster

Jesus, who created the world, set off this chain reaction of miniature resurrections. His own enormous Resurrection turned March into Easter and reduced cemeteries to odd hotels, temporary stops until we reach where we’re really going.

Why not believe in Him, too?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Christmas is Over?

O my God, the Christmas tree looks weird without gifts. I haven’t stepped on a Lego once this morning, and the quiet is deafening. Soon the last piece of Christmas fudge (argh!) will be gone. But OMG, I’m so glad that You share my coffee time today—Emmanuel, God still with us on December 28.

 

Small-town Boy

In newspapers, we read about local kids who play basketball, march in bands and strut on stages. Two thousand years ago, another small-town boy attended school, played catch and helped Dad run the family business. His name was Jesus. He was a country kid through and through.

Jesus was born in a small town, Bethlehem. The first smells that assaulted his tiny nose were straw and manure because his pregnant mom and adoptive dad, stuck with a “No Vacancy” sign at the Bethlehem Bed and Breakfast, took refuge in a stable. Perhaps Jesus appreciated his unique birth when he forgot to close the door and Mary yelled, “Oy, were you born in a barn?” Jesus could answer, “Yes.”

His parents raised him in Nazareth, where rush hour consisted of one herd of sheep going north meeting another going south. Nazareth boasted a ma-and-pa café where people exchanged marryin’ and buryin’ news. Nobody in Nazareth kept planners or wore watches. Yet when smoky fragrances of baking bread and roasting meat filled the air, Jesus and other village kids arrived for dinner on time!

They didn’t need video monitoring. All probably were taught by the strict old rabbi who instructed their parents. A student knew if he TP-ed the rabbi’s yard or tipped Mr. Moshe’s sheep, the Nazareth Nosy Network would kick into high gear. By the time he sneaked home, 200 relatives would have regaled his parents with sinful details.

Everybody knew your name in Nazareth, a great place to live – except for a teenage girl who claimed she was pregnant by the Holy Ghost. At Mary’s news, the Nazareth Nosy Network slammed into overdrive. Miraculously, Jesus’ parents survived their neighbors’ habit of stoning people who didn’t wait until marriage.

Eventually, villagers stopped counting months on their fingers concerning Jesus’ birth. Dr. Luke says the Nazarenes came to appreciate Jesus, a boy “strong in body and wise in spirit. And the grace of God was on him.”

When 30-year-old Jesus began sharing His wisdom with people throughout Galilee and Judea, his hometown enjoyed the “Small-town Boy Makes Good” headlines and boasted of his Nazareth roots.

When Jesus visited Nazareth, however, the Network rejected His claim He was God’s Son and stopped asking for his autograph. They nearly pushed their hometown hero off a cliff.

Escaping, Jesus continued ministering, mostly on the beach, mountainsides, in fields and other small towns. Finally, He volunteered to trade his life for the sins of the big-city bunch who killed him, for those of Nazareth’s Nosy Network (who wanted to) and for all since who need a Savior.

Many believed this country boy born in a barn was a hayseed wearing a fake halo. Really?

Or was He the Son of God?

 

 

 

 

 

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: This Place is a Pit!

O my God, this house is a mess. But You weren’t fussy about your birthplace—a stable whose inhabitants weren’t potty-trained. A world even nastier than that. Today, You still knock at our doors, longing to enter our grimy houses and grimier hearts. OMG, thank You for braving our mess!

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Singing in the Stores

O my God, when I used to sing “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” along with Walmart’s Muzac, my kids plotted to change their identities. Now, without their civilizing influence, I clear aisles. But, OMG, I can’t help singing. Christ is born!