Friday, August 09, 2013

That Wouldn't've Been MY Answer

Story: the raising of Lazarus (John 11)
Time: shortly before Holy Week
Characters: Jesus and Martha
Question:  I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live.  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.  Do you believe this?

And the answer from Martha?  

Nothing that looks like a reasonable answer to a direct question.

Yeah, yeah, sure, we're used to hearing the reading, so it may go in one ear and out the other.  But look how odd the answer is.

"People who believe in Me will not die, even though they die.  Do you believe that?"

"You betcha, Jesus.  I believe You're the Messiah."  

Wait -- He was talking about resurrection.  This interchange would make sense: "Do you believe I'm the Messiah?"  "Yes, I do."  And this interchange would also make sense:  "Do you believe that I give/am life for those dead?"  "Yes, You are."

But Martha's answer to the question about death-vs-life was "Yes, You are the Messiah."  

In other words, she knew the Old Testament scriptures to teach that the Messiah would come into the world to overcome death, to be the resurrection, to be life, to give immortality.  

I don't remember anybody teaching me when I was little that that's what the Old Testament was all about.  I don't even remember hearing that the Old Testament was all about Jesus -- much less that it was about the Anointed One who would bring to us eternal life.

But that was a no-brainer for Martha.

Dates of Easter

Grievous indeed that I need to have this in an easily accessible place, but what I think matters not.

2014:       April 20          April 20
2015:       April 5            April 12
2016:       March 27            May 1
2017:       April 16          April 16
2018:       April 1             April 8 
2019:       April 21           April 28
2020:       April 12           April 19
2021:       April 4               May 2

(Western Church in the first column.  Eastern Church in the second column.)

Thursday, August 08, 2013

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Not hot.  Not cold.  Not humid.  Not dry.  A sweet softness to the air.

Picked raspberries to go on the breakfast oatmeal.

Ate the first tomato sandwich of the year.  Big fat slice of tomato from the ONE tomato that's ripened so far.  With avocado and onion and cucumber-from-the-garden and homemade mayo and freshly made pesto (with just-picked basil from the garden) on homemade whole wheat bread.

And lettuce salad for supper.  With cucumber salad.  And the first potatoes I dug this year. 

Is this heavenly, or what??  You go out to your garden and bring in fresh food and feast on it!

When I began to realize that heaven was far more than fulfillment of every hedonistic desire (that is, fruit salad galore, chocolate chip cookies without getting fat, seafood chowder, etc), I began to think that the food of heaven would be the Lord's Supper.  And only the Lord's Supper.  Although that certainly is the primary feast, it is also true that God made the world and said it was good.  So maybe we do get fruit salad in heaven!  And tomato and avocado sandwiches!

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Those Thin Tent Walls

God is my refuge.

It's all through the psalms.  Refuge.  Rock.  Fortress.  Strength. 
And yet, when David wrote those psalms, the temple was not yet built.  They still had the tabernacle as the place of the Lord's saving presence.  It was constructed of cloth.

Not what we usually think of as a stronghold.

It is not just plain cloth, but the Word of God in and with the cloth.  For without God's Word, the cloth is just a plain tent and no refuge.  But with the Word of God, it is a refuge, that is, a life-defending fortress.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Vanity and Chasing After the Wind

Poor Solomon.  He's on his soapbox about how it's all useless.  You work your butt off, and then your stuff all goes to the man who comes after you (Eccl 1-2).  And who knows what that fellow is going to do with it -- how he's going to screw up all you worked for?

So, did he already know Reheboam would be his successor?
Did he already know that his son was the type of guy who couldn't hold the kingdom together?
Was he expressing not only "You can't take it with you" but also "You can't keep being an influence for good after you're gone"?