Archives for posts with tag: Cross of Christ

DSCN2995So the other morning, it was one of those mornings. You know, the ones where you can hear the lines of the childhood book, “Alexander and the Horrible, No-good, Very Bad Day” that list all the “awful ,horrible, no good very bad things” that happen to poor Alexander one day.   My list started like this:  I woke up late because I forgot to put the ringer on my phone so that the 5 different ringtones set apart at random minutes could go off. So, I rushed downstairs to get the much-needed coffee and when I opened the cabinet, two cups fell out right at me. I caught the mug with my hand, and sandwiched the plastic one between me and the counter before it fell. Definitely another rude awakening.

Then I made coffee in the Keurig, but the lid must not have been shut on the little canister thing I use and when I went to sip the coffee in the dimly lit kitchen, there were coffee grounds floating all over the top.That rude awakening was way worse than the cups or the waking up late.  Then  I turned on the brighter light and saw that the container for the lunch that I had packed the night before, was on the counter….empty. Somebody had eaten it late last night. (And my work friends know that I’m not the greatest at packing lunches for me…and that a 50 cent pack of crackers has been ‘lunch’ way more than I’d like to admit.)

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I remade the coffee, readjusted the mugs and cups in the cabinet, and flew up the stairs to get ready for the day. I didn’t say a word to my husband about the lunch..or lack there of. (I kind of had a feeling, a very strong suspicion, that he was the culprit.)

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I could list lots of faux pas of the morning because the day kept going on as it had started. I had forgotten about a meeting, and had some things not yet checked off my list that should’ve been checked off, and at 8:01, I get a phone call from my husband (the ringer was back on…but now should’ve been off because I was in the classroom with students.)  I was worried about why he was calling me at this time, so I pick up and he says, “I’m bringing you lunch today. Sorry….I ate yours last night.”

And I was glad that I hadn’t said anything about the empty container on the counter this morning.  Because if I had made some remark, not only would I not have gotten a better lunch than the one I had packed, I probably would’ve had a not-so-happy husband, and …. absolutely no lunch.

And I kept thinking about how there’s a flip side to everything.  I had tried to tell myself that on the way to work.  Not, ‘What the heck was Tanner thinking when he emptied the dishwasher last night and put too many mugs in the cabinet…”, but “I’m thankful Tan emptied the dishwasher.” Period. And the mug I caught could’ve fallen or hit me in the head or something, so I could be thankful for that. And not, “What the in the world is my problem that I forgot to set my 5 alarms?” But, I’m thankful I made it to work on time. And not, “Who does that?  Who eats his wife’s lunch and leaves the empty container for her to clean up?”  But, “I’m thankful that he cared enough to bring me lunch…lunch that was WAY better than the leftovers I had packed.”

So, yes, I was reminded that there’s a flip side to most everything. There’s a different angle, vantage point, perspective from which to see things in our 3D world. There’s often a negative dimension that has a positive dimension that takes a little bit more effort and squinting to see. Am thinking there’s also a spiritual dimension that sees things in the light of God’s grace.  Three-D.  And it’s funny how often the lens we see through is a bit one dimensional. We can tend toward one dimension or another. Some of us are a bit more positive in our view of things. We see that rose colored glass half-full. And some of us are a bit more negative and worry takes front and center stage in our view of things. But I love how scripture continually paints a picture of hope and positive perspective that points to a God who is in it ALL and can use it ALL for the good. When we bring it to Him, that is. Our faith, or lack there of surely colors our worlds, our views, our world view…

DSCN6460I don’t yet wear glasses. I wear readers sometimes because my arms are not quite long enough for my eyes to focus sometimes, ha! (But my husband ‘borrowed’ my readers as well…not sure where they are so have been holding things at a stretched arm’s length for awhile!) But I do know from having a son who wears glasses that they can get smudged and cloud the view a bit when you don’t take the time to clean them. I think reading God’s word, and spending time in prayer, seeking Him is like that daily cleaning of the lens of our hearts. He gives clarity, perspective that’s not just in the now, but sees beyond what’s seen, beyond the moment, to help see the flip side of things.

I often reference I Corinthians 13:12 that says,  “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”  I love that. Some versions say, “we see through a glass darkly”, like glasses that haven’t been cleaned or through a window of a dimly lit house. We see in part. We know in part. But….then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”  What a great thing…to see with perspective..to know every angle of something so as to understand, to KNOW.  To KNOW, comprehend, and understand is a good thing. But to be known and understood?  That’s an amazing thing. DSCN2532

I think we can all sense when we’re known in a one dimensional way…when people see  us through their positive or negative lens.I’m sometimes amazed at how quick people are to judge, how rarely some folks realize that their view might be just a tad-bit one-dimensional. So often, these folks can make quick verdicts and later need to backtrack and re-view their initial judgements…  Three-Dimensional vision takes the perspective of having different vantage points, and that takes t  i  m  e . But to be known, seen, understood…in a way that sees that 3 D view of who we are…that’s a gift. Especially when the knowing comes with an appreciation, even a love of who we are as the whole package. Yes, that is a gift to be treasured and valued and invested in.

I have a globe in my classroom, a one-dimensional cut-out-of-posterboard globe. On it, I wrote, “How I see the world can change how the world sees me.”  I want my students to start recognizing that it takes time and effort to see with a clear view …to see beyond what themselves, and to see beyond what’s seen. I want them to see that the lens they see through is often clouded by our own experience, views, and perspective, and  that in order to see clearly, we need to take into account how others might be feeling or seeing things.  In the same way that a new pair of well-prescribed glasses can correct vision, seeing things through the lens of empathy can allow people to see a more accurate 3-D view of their world, of our world. And eyes of faith, well, that adds a whole new beautiful dimension.

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Well, the day ended up just fine, and the many not-so-perfect moments will be forgotten soon, but the lessons of the flip side? I hope it continues. I hope I’m constantly looking for the flip side, the other angle when things aren’t quite the scene that I’d choose.

And here’s one random visual that I thought I might not share, but it’s late and I’m tired, and so I don’t have much of a filter…so here goes 🙂  Pancakes. Love them. You know when you’re watching the bubbles pop on the pancake and you wait with anticipation to see the golden brown beauty when that spatula flips that pancake?  There’s nothing like that perfectly browned pancake, hot off the griddle, that’s been flipped at just the right time.  Well, am thinking that flipping at the right time is important. With pancakes, and with perspective. You see, if we aren’t in the habit of seeking out the flip side of things in the time that we see them, well, we miss the chance to change the scene in that moment. If I hadn’t sought out the ‘flip side’ the other morning, I could’ve created lots of fiascos with angry husbands and empty stomachs and teachers and students who were in the wake of my terrible no good very bad morning. But when we see the flip side, we can change the view. For us and for others. That’s a beautiful thing.

If we wait too long to see the flip side, well, it might just be like the very well done overly blackened pancake…a missed opportunity to enjoy something great.

Just a thought.

Well, gonna go set my alarm(sssss…..). Here’s to a good morning for you all…and  here’s to seeing the flip side when life gets a little topsy turvy. Remembering that God looks at us through eyes of grace, through the flip side of the Cross, that can help us change perspective on just about everything. Man sees a cross as death and endings and defeat. God allowed the flip side of the cross to bring life and victory and beginnings.  He’s the Master of the flip side. Am thinking that in the light of His grace, it’s a lot easier for us to see and to seek the flip side.

By His Grace~
Heather

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 
 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 

 

 

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Cross at Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, Conway, South Carolina, April 9, 2017

I have a distinct memory in my high school years. Our beloved Latin teacher gave quite dramatic deliberations on a variety of subjects. She was always incredibly entertaining.I remember her talking about bubble gum giving your mouth a sugar bath of decay. I remember her literally sliding across a table with her hands clenched saying, “PLEASE, PLEASE…”  I don’t remember what she was begging for, but the manner of asking made quite a long lasting impression, that’s for sure.  Yes, Mrs. Goodman was one of my favorites.  She was an incredible teacher, full of inspiration, drama, quick wit, and unconventional methods which sure made her students take note, and learn, like it or not.  I still remember a lot that I learned in that class…

Well, one day, she started a very passionate dialogue. And she said something that really struck me. But this time it wasn’t about health or education or daily stuff. This time it was about faith, Christianity, and the Cross. She asked the question, “Why in the world would a religion choose a symbol as morbid as a cross? It may as well be a tombstone for what it represents.”   And as a young believer in Christ, well, my wheels started spinning quite a bit. I mean, she had a point. The cross was a symbol of death. Not just a natural death, but a violent death where one is being killed. Killed. Punished. Put on public display.

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Beaver Dam Baptist Church Cemetery, Shelby, North Carolina

So I got it. I got the reasoning for her diatribe. And as a new believer in Christ, this most often quiet high school girl wanted to raise my hand  and raise my voice and say, “…but Mrs. Goodman…” But the class time was limited and my words didn’t formulate quickly even though my wheels were spinning fast. My hand stayed down and voice was silent. Ever since that time, I sometimes find myself thinking of Mrs. Goodman and her question. And here are some of my thoughts… (which so wouldn’t have been able to be spit out quickly in response to her age old question during a class period in high school…)

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Cemetery across from airport in Shelby, North Carolina, April 2017

A week before Jesus was nailed to a cross, literally nailed to a cross, he was being praised, cheered, exalted, as a Savior. People lined the streets of Jerusalem and hailed the “King” on the donkey.  They cried out “Hosanna!”  One translation of “Hosanna” is ‘save now’. SAVE…NOW.  Another translation is “I beg you to save now.”  All signs were pointing to Jesus being the Messiah, the promised One who was to be the Savior of the World. And people were recognizing him as such. They saw the miracles, some realized the prophesies, listened to His words…and were moved by His presence.They were recognizing that this one born in Bethlehem under Beacon of a Star could be the One, the Messiah, they were waiting for. “Hosanna!” was shouted, palm leaves were waved as people lined the streets and hailed Jesus as King.

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Cross at Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, Conway, South Carolina, April 9, 2017

But their definition of SAVE…SAVE now…it was a bit different…more temporal than the one that Jesus spoke of. The week before Jesus was crucified on a cross, people had lined the streets to praise Him as the one who would save.  But that ‘saving’ didn’t look like they wanted it to. They wanted the ‘SAVING’ to be from present circumstances.  They wanted the ‘NOW’ to be…now. Days later, cheers turned to jeers, waving palm branches turned to whips, a road to a throne turned to a road to a cross.

But here’s the thing. That had been Jesus’ destination all along. To be the Lamb of God, the Sacrifice, the One who was to SAVE us, not only from present circumstance, but from our Sins….the Sin the like cancer eats away at us, but more than that, the sin that separates from a Holy, Pure, Righteous God. This Messiah came not only to “save now” from sins, He came to reign in our hearts as Lord.  Sometimes we want to trade the external-temporal-SAVING-NOW, for the internal-eternal-Saving-for-all-time.  The internal-external-Saving-for-all-time would take a sacrifice. Literally.  The Messiah would be ‘pierced for our transgressions..’…and the cross, would be where that sacrifice would ultimately take place.

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Wilmington, North Carolina, February 2017

So, the cross became the symbol not for death but for life. It became the symbol for the death of sin’s hold and the redeeming of the soul.

I’m not sure what my Latin teacher would say after reading this.  And I think it’s ironic that her name was Mrs. Goodman, because, she was good. In fact, she was great. She was a nut, but she was so loved and appreciated by so many.  And like her name “Good – man”, there’s something in us that wants to believe that if we’re good enough, if we’re great enough, then, THEN, we or those people can earn their way into Heaven. And that’s the thing. It’s a faith thing. Not a works thing. The Bible says, “all have sinned…all fall short…” The chasm between holiness and humanity is too wide. And the cross of Christ, that symbol of death, becomes a symbol of life. Resurrected life. But the gift, it needs to be received. By faith. Alone.

But…if we don’t believe we are sinners, why would we need a Savior? And if we don’t believe God is a Holy God, and we are so not, why would we need a Redeemer?  And if we don’t need a Redeemer, a Sacrifice, then why would we need a cross?  Paul even recognized that reasoning when he said, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”  (I Corinthians 1:18)

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I am a sinner. From the get go. I need a Savior. Every Single Day. I need a Redeemer, a Messiah promised from the beginning of time. I need a cross. A symbol of temporal death becomes a symbol of eternal life. Why?  Because Death didn’t have power over Jesus. He was resurrected. Changed. Sin had no hold on Him, and He was raised…and Lives. My Redeemer Lives. That’s what I see when I see the cross. I see a Sacrifice and a Resurrected Savior.  When I see the cross, I see the Love of Christ that breaks sin’s hold on me and breaks through vain religious hoops and striving. When I see the cross, I see Jesus.

Screen Shot 2017-04-15 at 11.58.12 PMI’m not sure where Mrs. Goodman is now. And if I could go back and sit in her class…in a few words, I think I’d say that the cross is the crux. It’s the heart of a redemptive God. The Isaiah 53 Messiah was the Jesus on Calvary who didn’t stay down, but was resurrected. And my awesome Latin teacher would know that the root of resurrection, the Latin ‘resurgere ‘ means “rise again, appear again”. His death is the gateway to life. And because of that, by faith, Death can’t keep a good-man down. Not when a resurrected Christ is your advocate. And that, that is something to celebrate.

A Blessed Easter to You~

Heather

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”  

I Peter 1:3-4

Isaiah 53

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Wooden Window to the World

Everything changes when seen through the light of this ‘window’.
Thankful for that.

“I have come into the world as a light so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

John 12:46

http://wheresmybackpack.com/2014/01/24/travel-theme-wood/

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