Grace Beyond Eggs & Peeps

I’ve claimed to be a devout Christian before. The height of my claim came in high school when, for a few months, at least, I was set on the decision to attend a Seventh-Day Adventist college and major in Theology to become a pastor. For the most part, my spiritual life has been hit and miss since then.

The past couple years, however, brought about a growing acceptance of the concept of God’s grace. Essentially, there is nothing that I could do, or have ever done, to earn God’s love and acceptance. This realization has brought me closer to him than I’ve ever been or ever could become by learning to quote from the many writings of Ellen G. White or by refraining from doing the wrong thing on the sabbath (two big emphases of the Adventist church). Both of my hands are empty and free to serve now that I set my score card down.

My realization of the profound consequences of Grace on my personal life, has developed a greater appreciation of the events that the Christian Easter season celebrates. I grew up, as many kids do, coming out to the living room on Easter Sunday to find an Easter basket full of candy, treats, and usually a toy. The Peeps were my favorite. This was before they became available for every other holiday. I’m talking about the marshmallow, sugar-coated, yellow, pink, and purple chicks and bunnies. I still love them!

Sure, I was familiar with something related to Jesus being resurrected (or something like that), but, that was all on the periphery. My main focus when I was a kid was the candy, the oversized rabbit that stands on two legs at the mall, and egg hunts. Even in my mid-twenties I didn’t grasp the significance of “Good Friday,” as many people called it.

Last night I participated in a Thursday evening communion service in which we focused on commemorating Christ’s last supper with his disciples in the upper room. I’ve been focusing on this event in my personal readings over the past week as well. To me, this is where the truest character of Jesus is revealed. From the revelation that John the disciple reclined at the table with his head resting on the chest of Jesus, to the fact that the Messiah disrobed, wrapped his clothing around his waist, and washed each of his followers’ feet.

Though he knew he was about to suffer the greatest pain known to man, Christ spent this evening breaking bread with his betrayer, and providing food, wisdom, and comfort to his disciples. On the eve of the day when He would experience the greatest mental, physical and spiritual struggle to touch mankind, Jesus provided rest to his disciples and served even those who would, later that night, betray and deny him.

The next day he was unjustly executed. Three days later, on resurrection Sunday, he served all mankind by tying the knot of grace that binds, to Him, those who accept his generous invitation to eat with Him in His kingdom.

The hope and peace of my life rests on these events.

“Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.” John 13:23

3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.” John 13:3-5

Love Forward

The past still haunts me from time to time
My eyes drift away from His gaze
I feel my legs sinking below the surface
But, He went to such lengths to forgive
Here I stand too desensitized to notice
The me that catches my own backward glance
Is not the self that wrestles today
Lord God Almighty Christ
Infuse my muscles with enough holy power
To kick free from this wheezing demon
And dash forward carried by the fire of grace
Grant me the faith to not look back
But to love forward

The Importance of Being Properly Hydrated

Just the other day I experienced another gratifyingly crystal-clear moment of grace. It was a gloomy, overcast morning. It was one of those days that I had grown to expect, after 31 years of living, not to be remembered as a great day. Sunshine does so much to brighten my soul and when it is not their, its sometimes easy to forget that it ever was. I was driving home from the coffee shop when my predictable expectations for cloudy days were beginning to come to fruition.

At some point during my drive (it may have been the lyrics to a song I was listining to while driving – though, I can’t recall the lyrics or the song now), I remembered that growth comes from rain. Rain is a critical component of the rebirth of nature each spring. As I’ve found out in concrete terms through the experience of trying to keep a plant in my classroom alive, when a plant is not watered, it ceases to be a living organism.

It was only after I parked the car in the driveway, pulled my keys out of the ignition, opened the door, and stepped out, that I heard Him. Stepping from the stale air inside my car I inhaled the fresh air outside and immediately felt, smelt, and tasted the positively distinct character of spring and rebirth. I remember it all coming together in my head and in my heart during the few seconds that expired as I walked from the driveway to the front door of my house. An involuntary plea from my soul lead to acknowledgement from God, a smile on my face, and a thank you from my lips. A couple thousand years past Christ’s resurrection and a few days past our celebration of Easter Sunday, Jesus is still resurrecting love, peace, and hope, through grace, making all things new.

Celebrating The Single Biggest Event In the History of Mankind

Regardless of whether you are a Christian or not, one must admit that the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is arguably the most significant event in history. The perspectives, lifestyles, and hopes of generations ride on the simple fact that Jesus beat death when he rose from the dead. The moment when he exited the tomb lit the fuse of the Christian church. Now, because the church has consisted of humans throughout its existence, it has had its share of ups and downs. However, with every up and down, God has remained faithful to those who honestly sought to fulfill his commandments to love God above all and to love others as they love themselves. Whether celelbrating the resurrection is important to you or not is dependent upon whether you have accepted His unearnable grace and love. To those that have accepted, it is a celebration of the most beautiful gift that could ever be given and was given by Creator to creation.