Archives for posts with tag: Easter

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.


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…)


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.


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.


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)


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~


“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



To resurrect is to rise up.  It is to bring back to life, to revive.  From what?

From darkness to light

From despair to hope

From bondage to freedom

From defeat to victory

From disease to vitality

From lost to found

From death…physical, spiritual, emotional…death to LIFE (physical, spiritual, emotional).

Love that.

There a story in scripture of when Jesus healed a paralytic. He said, “which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or to say ‘Get up and walk’?  But so that many of you will know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, I say to you, ‘Get up, pick up your bed, and go home.’  And he got up and went home. But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck and glorified God…”  Matthew 9:5-8

See, we’re awestruck when we see things in the physical. Seeing is believing. And we’re awestruck by the beauty of the resurrection, the truth that Jesus went from death to life, a physical death to life. I mean, it’s , well,…un believable!!  But it happened.

But here’s the thing… the resurrected life doesn’t begin with physical death.  It begins when we’re brought from death to life, spiritually. The physical manifestation is merely an outer manifestation of what happens internally when we ask Jesus to forgive us for our sins, to redeem us. Like a life-saving remedy that kills disease and restores vitality and health, the resurrection power of Christ attacks the sin that numbs and steals and invades.  Sin always takes a toll, sometimes in silence, sometimes not.  It invades and changes people.  It steals the joy, numbs the life, dulls the senses, robs us of the missions, the passions, the journeys we were created to take in our lives.  Sin blocks the relationship with God that we were created for.  Jesus paying that penalty restores it.

So, when I hear the word ‘resurrected’, I think not only of Heaven for those who have gone before us.  I think of me.  I think of the hope He daily restores in my life, the way God’s grace has so resurrected and revived this heart of mine a thousand times and more.  I think of the very personal way that He rolls away the stones in my life and helps me to walk in the freedom of being loved and chosen and whole.  He doesn’t call us to tombs of darkness, death, and endings.  He calls us to Light, and freedom, and life….and beginnings.  The resurrected life isn’t all about Heaven and the future and us. It’s about being ALIVE right here, right now, free from chains that bind and hindrances that cling.  A few thoughts on the Resurrection.  May your Easter be blessed, and may the days ahead be full of the risen hope that comes through knowing the love of the Savior.



“Now this is (not was or will be…IS) eternal life that they know You, the Only True God, and Jesus Christ whom  you have sent.”  John 17:3



“Christianity is not about bad people becoming good. It’s about dead people coming alive in Christ.”

~Kenny Hall, Youth Pastor, Element Church, Shelby,NC March 29th, 2015

I loved this quote from this young youth pastor last Sunday. It is just so true. We tend to make things about us. Our abilities.  Our shortcomings.  Our “qualifications” for being a ‘good Christian’.   But Christianity’s focus?  It is Jesus Christ. Not me and my shortcomings, or me and my abilities, but Him and His Lordship. ..It’s about dead people coming alive in Christ…” It’s not about us earning our way to anything…acceptance, Heaven, answered prayer.  Christianity is about “Christ in us, the Hope of Glory.” It is about Jesus paying my debt, and me accepting that He’s paid the bill. My part in the deal is to accept the gift.

Easter celebrates the resurrection.  And what exactly does resurrection mean?  It means a rising up again.  Rising again.  What once was is brought back to life.   “Re” means ~ again. “Surrect” is the Greek root for  ~ a rising up.  Awake. Alive. Arisen. “For Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.” I love the verse that says “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3.  It says this IS eternal life.  It starts now.  The condition of being one to be resurrected starts when the gift of salvation is received.  Love that.

“If the Son has set you free, you will be free indeed.”  John 8:36.  Free Indeed.  Free.  Like one is fully AWAKE, ALIVE, ARISEN.  Resurrection is not just about the future when our earthly bodies are no more.  It is so about the now.  And that?  That is truly something to celebrate!  A Blessed Easter to you all…

By His Grace ~


“Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.

“For behold, darkness will cover the earth And deep darkness the peoples;

But the LORD will rise upon you And His glory will appear upon you.”

Isaiah 60:1

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