Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Love Showed Up With a Simple Offer

Today I'm sharing at the blog of another one of my smart, talented writer friends, Leanne Penny. She writes breathtaking stories on all sorts of things, especially on grief in all of its forms. Head over to her place to learn more about her, and to read the rest of this post. 

If you’ve left a church you’ve been part of for a long time, you know the emotions that go with it. And if the circumstances are less than ideal, the pain is even worse. My story centers around the day I walked through new sanctuary doors carrying heartache and sadness.
I was grieving. I was grieving the loss of our time at our old church, the one I had been part of for almost a decade. The relationships changed due to distance. The people who had become my family were now gone. The people I did life with were all a plane ride away.
I was grieving the atmosphere when we left – it was all bittersweet. We had gone through what I can only describe as walking through mud up to my waist. It was painful and exhausting and all I wanted was relief.
Tears were quick to flow in those weeks and months and I couldn’t even tell why – too many emotions coursing through a nine-month pregnant woman.
I walked into the new sanctuary, the one thousands of miles away, with a swollen belly and my head hanging low. We had just moved from the East Coast to the Midwest. I was 37 weeks pregnant and carrying my 18 month old with me. I was tired. My feet hurt. I just wanted to finish unpacking and then curl up on a couch with my family and rest until it was time to have our baby. But I knew that if we didn’t visit a church that week, I’d run the risk of not going back for a very long time. I was so physically tired. I was even more emotionally and spiritually tired.  But we went that Sunday morning, hesitantly yet determinedly.

Read the rest of the story, here.......

Thursday, April 17, 2014

From Insurrection to Resurrection

Today I have the honor of guest posting at the home of my favorite awards winning reporter. By day she works her magic at the Chicago Sun Times; by night she shows the beauty in the mystery that others are wary of.

We read the story, though we only see it in one of the Gospels. Luke is the only one who mentions the exchange. I often wonder why.

They are referred to as thieves or robbers, but the notes in my Bible tell me otherwise. They tell me that robbery was not a capital offense and more than likely they were insurgents.

Now this starts to make sense.

Here is our Jesus. Our glorious rabble rouser. The King of the Jews stuck between two common, low-life rebels. Here He is, hanging, shamed.

Did they know who Jesus was? Had they heard whispers of what He did, who He claimed to be before they were arrested, tried, and hung on their own wooden branches?

The man on the left yells out to be saved. Mocking. Angry. Abusive.

But the man on the right knows. He knows they all hang there for the same crime but that Jesus is both innocent, yet in a way that not even the disciples understand, guilty. No, not guilty of sin, but Jesus was establishing a new Kingdom. And the act of allowing Himself to hang there, bloodied, beaten, and broken was pushing the Kingdom into reality. He was in labor with the new Kingdom and that repentant “thief” saw it. He saw the way the earth was ready to shake. He recognized that while both were found guilty of insurrection, only Jesus was actually carrying out His plan. It was just in a way that no one imagined or understood.

As the sky darkened and prepared to swallow itself, maybe, just maybe, he saw somewhere the tiniest glimmer that said, “This is not the end. This is just the beginning.” The cracking in of the new Kingdom.

Join me at Emily's to finish.....