27 April, 2010

Broken Bread

A few weeks ago, we celebrated Easter. We celebrated the women running from the tomb to tell the Good News. What a glorious picture! Today my mind takes me back to the Saturday before Easter Sunday.

The disciples were gathered together perhaps wondering what had just happened. How could Jesus be dead? How could this have happened? I thought we were on the right path to victory. A tragedy. I can see the room, full of people murmuring, crying, shouting in anger, people sitting on mats, reclined on pillows, eating or not eating. I’m confident that some were problem solving, trying to fix the situation. Others were emotionally devastated. And then there would be the numb ones, the silent ones. I would have been in this numb group. Those who just can’t seem to feel. Isolated and sitting alone in the upper room. Thinking, ‘now what’? In modern day language, ‘are you kidding me’? This is where I find myself today. Numb.

In my numbness, I’m reliving memories of days gone by. Remembering good days, great days, days of pain, days of hope, difficult days filled with life lessons. I think back to Jesus’ words, words of hope, love and a future with Him. I remember the day that the crowds swarmed us and we had about 5000 people gathered to hear Him teach. Everyone was hungry for His words. But as the day wore on we all became physically hungry too. We wanted to break up the group and go eat. But Jesus wouldn’t let us instead he took a few pitiful loaves of bread and a few fish, broke the bread and blessed it. We passed those loaves and fish throughout the crowd and everyone ate. Everyone was full and satisfied. In fact, after the meal, we walked around and picked up 12 basketfuls of leftovers, the broken pieces.

Jesus’ love for us is overwhelming and unimaginable. He not only feeds us but we have been fed to the point of satisfaction and then some. He has abundantly fed us. And for Him and that is not enough. He is even concerned with the broken pieces, the crumbs of our lives.

In my numbness today, I relish in this loaves and fish story.

•He provides even when I doubt His ability.

•Today the broken bread symbolizes the brokenness in my life and that He blesses it.•He treasures the broken pieces of my life by going behind me and picking up the pieces. Even gathering the pieces in baskets.

•The baskets, full of my brokenness, are blessed and used to show others of His love, His plans for them and me.

He is the God of our hope. He is the God of today and tomorrow. He is the God who satisfies. He is the God of broken dreams. He is the God of tomorrow’s promise.

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. Matthew 14: 19-20

20 April, 2010

Foggy Morning

It was an early December morning in north Mississippi about 6 a.m. and I was on my way to Jackson. This 2-hour drive through the rural south is completely familiar to me. Two-lane tree-lined highways make up much of the drive. On each side of the highway tall pine trees stand and sway. It was a chilly, wintry morning.

I’ve driven this highway for 25 years…first to and from college then for my job duties. Nothing about it is unknown or new to me – until this December day. Immediately, I began to hit patches of fog. As I traveled south, the fog became denser and the roadway kept winding between the hills. After some time, I realized that I was holding the steering wheel rather tightly and as I tried to see my surroundings, I realized I had no idea where I was – except in the middle of heavy, heavy fog. My car kept pushing forward at 65 mph and I followed the road stripes closely. Nothing was familiar, no signage was visible, no cell reception, no landmarks, bright lights only made things worse. I reduced my speed and concentrated my focus allowing no distractions. I couldn’t judge my progress and couldn’t predict my surroundings. I was thrilled when I met another car as they represented more light. I was lost in the fog with no clue as to my progress but knew I was on the road, headed in the right direction.

In the middle of this two hour drive, I realized the parallel to my life…. a blessed life but one now filled with difficult personal problems and concerns. These thoughts of driving in fog and being blinded to signage, no clear vision, no clear road to follow, nothing familiar but staying on the road believing I was headed in the right direction were suddenly my life.

In the midst of difficulties, I’ve pondered…Am I traveling on or have I pulled over and stopped because I can’t see what’s ahead? Am I using my bright lights when all I really need is my normal headlights and a steady, consistent speed? Am I looking for other traveler’s lights to light my way? Isn’t this faith, staying on the road in the dense fog?

Following a long familiar but now foggy path…headed in the right direction.

From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2

13 April, 2010

Our Groom

They had just lived a really busy week. Passover was always busy with so many people, so much food to prepare, and so many activities. But added to those preparations and plans, their beloved Jesus had been tried and crucified. Days later they find themselves at His tomb and He is not there! Their joy was overwhelming; the fear of what they were seeing had to be so very confusing. Their hearts surely were about to burst and so they did the only thing they knew to do, they ran to tell someone – then He met them. In Matthew 28:9, I am again surprised by Jesus. “Suddenly, Jesus met them”. “Greetings”, says the Lord Jesus.

Can you even imagine? Did the women, fall down or bump into each other as they stopped abruptly at His sudden appearance. Were they winded, hot and sweaty as they were running and now stood amazed at the sight of Jesus? The Bible says, ‘they came to him, clasped his feet and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers….”

As they ran to tell, He met them….Our resurrected Lord was already moving towards the women as they began moving out to tell others. With that first step of movement back into the world, Jesus met them.

This weekend we attended a beautiful family wedding in north Mississippi. We were just the aunt and uncle so for us the weekend was fairly simple. But for the parents of the bride and groom, the weeks leading up to this event were anything but simple. Like most other weddings, the weeks and months prior to this event were hectic, with dozens of decisions, thank you notes, wardrobe questions, caterers, music, and many other issues. But the day finally dawned.

The church began to fill and the music led us to worship. It was about time. Suddenly, I saw her. A beautiful sight….my 86 year-old mama begin to walk down the isle to her seat. My tall, handsome 20 year-old son who carried most of her weight escorted her. For you see, my mama is not well and has not walked that many steps in several months. Two people that I love with an overwhelming love coming my way.

Soon, the mothers were seated; the groom was in place, the attendants all stood looking for the bride. And suddenly, I saw her. A beautiful sight…..a beautiful young bride coming to meet her groom. A groom whose eyes never left hers as she approached.

The youth and the aged were both represented. Both excited, both “running” in their own way down the isle to their grooms. Resplendent in their gowns, glowing with joy and wanting the world to know about their groom, the love, the joy, the future. One bride whose life is ahead and one bride whose life has been lived.

Just like me, just like you. Just like the ladies running from the tomb when suddenly, the Groom met them. The Groom whose eyes never leave them as they approach.

06 April, 2010

Running

Sunday was a beautiful day of worship and communion in my church. We celebrated the new life Jesus has given to us. We sang, we praised, we worshipped, we studied the Word, we celebrated communion as a body of believers. He is Risen indeed!

I love the visual in Matthew 28, it reads: “so the women hurried away from the tomb afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.”

Can you imagine how hard it must have been to RUN in their dress of the day and in sandals! Yet, they ran. I envision an almost hysterical, giggling, crying, exuberant group of women running in joy to tell the good news: Oh my gosh, He did not die, He is ALIVE! Yes, I promise.I am not kidding you! Come see!

My typical “non-running” week:

  • Monday…the week begins with errands, errands, errands…
  • Tuesday…I prepare for a Wednesday bible study. A study where 80 women gather to study His word and apply it to our lives.
  • Wednesday…Bible study all morning where great truths are revealed. This wonderful study helps me live a devoted Christian life. Wednesday night I need to attend the midweek worship service at church.
  • Thursday…grocery store, laundry, call mom, mail bills. And, I think there is a new Bible study starting that I want to join.
  • Friday….plan dinner, kids activities organized, college son needs money and food!

All week, as I surround myself with Christian believers and Christian activities, I hear the whisper,

"What about those who do not know? Run and tell them about Me. Run and tell the hurting. Run with the joy I’ve given you. Run with Me. Run until they all know. Run behind me and let My strength be yours. Run to those who have not heard”.

By nature, I’m not a runner or a jogger. I know that exercise is good for me but I have bad knees and I really don’t like to run. Like the women in Matthew who were first, afraid. I am afraid of what I’ve seen. I’m afraid to get out of my routine of comfort. I’m afraid to be outside and IN the world.

But I realize that IF the resurrection is truly to be celebrated in my daily life, if I am truly proclaiming, He is alive, then I must RUN to tell. I must tell those who do not know this truth. I must run with Him to tell the world…to tell my neighbor.