Tag Archives: Resurrection

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Lord, You’ve Always Enjoyed Variety

Jesus, You made some of us early bloomers.

Our brave pear tree.

And some of us blossom very late in the season.

Our reluctant Rose of Sharon bushes.

But OMG, thank You for loving us all!

Image by Congerdesign from Pixabay.

Of Crocuses, Tourneys and Hope

“A single crocus blossom ought to be enough to convince our heart that springtime, no matter how predictable, is somehow a gift …” —David Steindl-Rast

Have you, too, been watching your crocus bed like basketball bracketology? As if tiny blossoms guarantee your team achieves NCAA basketball glory?

While not everyone pairs crocuses and basketball, this Hoosier always will.

Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay.

Blizzards may morph the combination into a reluctant threesome. Benedictine monk Steindl-Rast’s quote above resonates with me. Yet, Indiana inhabitants understand our March is as fickle as a referee’s calls.

Still, when crocuses, tough little optimists, push through snow, I want to turn somersaults. Although I prefer not to spend spring in a body cast.

Image by Klaus-Peter Knopp from Pixabay.

Perhaps ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Minoans also had to resist somersault temptation, as they loved crocuses. The Romans gave us their name, derived from the Latin adjective “crocatus,” meaning “saffron yellow.” Spice derived from an autumn crocus was used extensively by ancient chefs. Fashionistas used saffron to color fabrics and hairdos. Others swore it cured Grandpa Kitanetos’ rheumatism, Grandma Isis’ headaches and even Uncle Flavius’ habit of hitting the wineskins too often.

Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay.

Not surprisingly, the plant appeared in early civilizations’ mythology. Somebody was always falling in love with somebody else, rousing a god’s jealousy. In retribution, remorse or pity — or all three — deities, nymphs or humans were turned into crocuses.

In contrast, God, in the Old Testament book of Isaiah, celebrated the flower with an outrageous simile: “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus” (Isaiah 35:1 NIV).

The Judean desert? I’ve been there. Even cacti run screaming from that burning wilderness.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay.

At that time, God wasn’t dealing with depressed sports fans whose team blew it. He was speaking to war refugees who thought God had given up on them. Instead, He promised Jesus would come, bringing forgiveness and healing that would make miserable lives blossom like the crocus.

Today, as snow falls, the crocuses and I don’t give up hope. Tiny buds are reaching for the heavens, proclaiming Jesus’ Resurrection never quits.

Because of Him, we can always have hope.

Even if our team loses in the first round.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What do crocuses say to you?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: True Belief

O Lord, Your daffodils insist on showing up every February. Don’t they know basketball tourney time lurks in the near future, with its usual accompanying blizzard? Yet nothing keeps them down. OMG, help me believe in the Resurrection as much as they do.

 

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Easter Afterthoughts

O Lord, some might think these crazy people lined up for blocks in the rain to watch the Cubs or American Idol. It still makes me smile to know they waited to see the Marion, Indiana, Easter pageant. OMG, I know it makes You smile, too.  

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: True Flower Power

O Lord, nothing looked deader than the brown, shriveled seeds I planted last spring. But You breathed Your life into them, and now, a hundred colorful reminders of Your Resurrection dance for joy in the west wind. OMG, to think that You can do the same for us, if we let You. Alleluia!

“Fear Not” — Are You Kidding Me?

(Note: I wrote this piece in 2019, with no idea of what lay ahead. Reviewing it, I thought it might prove even more relevant for Christmas 2020.) 

Children nowadays text Santa with requests. Some use PowerPoint presentations. (“Last year, you brought a baby brother instead of a puppy. Seriously, Santa, you and Amazon Prime really messed up.”)  

Yet, up-close-and-personal encounters continue as children assure Santa they’ve been good. He probably doesn’t do background checks, because even mean kids make out like Christmas bandits.

The majority, however, look scared.

Reading storybooks on Mommy’s lap about jolly St. Nick felt cozy and familiar.

Sitting on a big, bearded hippie’s lap doesn’t. Children inform the entire mall this wasn’t their idea. The only photos taken feature close-ups of tonsils. Or kids’ calling Uber for a ride to Bongo Bongo.

Yet loving grown-ups assure them, “Don’t be afraid.”

They’d never endanger children. Even hired Santas probably would have found easier work — like digging ditches — if they didn’t care about kids.

The children are safe. Cherished.

I find similar, odd “fear nots” in the biblical Christmas story.

When the angel Gabriel told Mary about her impossible pregnancy. When another urged Joseph to marry her, carrying a Child not his. When shepherds hit the ground before a regiment of angels. Mary, Joseph and the shepherds had real reasons to be afraid.

These strange visitors weren’t wearing wings and halos from Dollar Tree. Seeing genuine angels today while shoveling snow or brewing coffee — who wouldn’t set Olympic records for the 10-mile dash?

Besides, the angels’ words smacked of the revolutionary.    

In Mary’s culture, a woman pregnant with a supposedly illegitimate Child might be stoned.  A man who married her would bear her stigma, affecting relationships and his job. Having left flocks untended, the shepherds also might lose their meager livelihood.

Worse, the angels proclaimed the Baby was a King. Paranoid Herod, who killed family members, considered that high treason. Also, Romans readily crucified anyone who didn’t worship Caesar.

Crazy times. Terrible times. Yet God’s message rang out: “Fear not.”

Today, we want to call Uber and escape this scary mess. Go to Bongo Bongo. Or Neptune.

Adult Jesus did, too. He knew His enemies would kill him. Yet, His life vibrated with that theme: “Fear not.”

Jesus could have blown away his foes. Instead, He used His murder to pay for human sin. Then, He laughed at death — that thing we fear most — and rose again.

Jesus wants us to know if we believe in Him, we are safe. Now. Forever. Loved. Cherished.

“Fear not.”

He wasn’t kidding Mary, Joseph or the shepherds. He isn’t kidding us, either. Or our children and grandchildren bawling on Santa’s lap.

Joy and peace to you this Christmas.

Really.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Are you trusting Jesus for 2021 — and your forever?

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. —John 3:16 NIV

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Hope for Us Scragglies

O Lord, Hubby and I just planted Scraggly the Lilac. Maybe his fellow shrubs voted him least likely to succeed? Next spring, though, we expect a resurrection. Father, some Mondays I feel like Scraggly. But OMG, thank You that Jesus’ Resurrection helps us blossom and share in His incredible fragrance!