Stuck on Saturday

During the Easter season the last few years, I’ve been drawn to conversations around not rushing to Sunday. We’d rather not sit in the pain or silence choosing to skip ahead to resurrection. Lucky for us in this century, that’s an option.

Sorry for those that lived Easter weekend in real time. Not an option for them. And although it feels like an option for us each Easter weekend, the reality is that much of our life experience feels a lot like waiting for resurrection. Like it’s a really looooooong Saturday.

  • An unraveling marriage
  • A family feud
  • A wayward child
  • A terminal diagnosis
  • An unfulfilled promise

In many biblical accounts we find company with others stuck on Saturday:

  • Abraham’s years of waiting for the promised son
  • Jacob and Esau’s rivalry encouraged by their parents that caused years of generational pain
  • Joseph’s journey through multiple betrayals, even prison time
  • Esther’s quest to save her people
  • Job’s turmoil of loss, grief, and disease
  • David’s numerous interpersonal relationship challenges that seemed unending

Their stories may be so familiar that we forget or fail to see how much we have in common. Their resurrection took much longer than a weekend…weeks, but mostly years. They had to find a way to live stuck on Saturday. Truth is, until eternity is our norm-the ultimate resurrection, we’re all stuck on Saturday. The how-to-live-on-Saturday list is long, but here are my top three, Easter 2022:

Stop trying to make it happen…that’s what Abraham did. What a mess! It’s better to wait for the promise keeper to move the stone than to derail your life attempting to do his job for him.

Remember whose you are…that’s what David did. What a heart! It’s healthy to blurt, wail, lament, and even curse in order to create the space for praise from a sheltered, created, purposed, and everlastingly loved child.

Keep the communication lines open…that’s what they all did. What examples! It’s freeing to lean not on your own understanding by trusting that what is coming on Sunday is something only possible from higher ways and thoughts.

Stuck on Saturday? It’s not fun. Yet the forced gaze on the stone mover is worth it.

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Into

Into the normal of a borrowed room the Bread of Life memorialized

His hope remains

Into the fog of the garden the Vine agonized

His connection remains

Into the mockery of the temple the Door submitted

His welcome remains

Into the denial in the courtyard the Good Shepherd understood

His forgiveness remains

Into the torture of the flogging the Way, the Truth, and the Life endured

His love remains

Into the abandonment on the cross the Resurrection and the Life embraced

His victory remains

Into the darkness of the tomb the Light of the World invaded

His promise remains

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

They Knew Not

The kiss meant to betray honored

The arrest meant to end began

The words meant to charge freed

The stripes meant to wound healed

The crown meant to mock heralded

The cries meant to doom lifted

The cross meant to burden unleashed

The sign meant to accuse declared

The nails meant to torture identified

The sword meant to pierce solidified

The stone meant to secure revealed

The cloth meant to cover displayed

The tomb meant to hide announced

The death meant to squelch ignited

Photo by Ismael Paramo on Unsplash

Pilate Got It Right

I read John 19 this morning, Good Friday. Here are two interesting verses to contrast:

15 They shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

Pilate said to them, “Should I crucify your king?”

“We have no king but Caesar!” the chief priests answered.

19 Pilate also had a sign made and put on the cross. It said: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.

So many questions. Did the chief priests really mean what they said? Did they really view Caesar as their king? If so, what did they say to the people around them when they spoke about their God, their loyalty to him? Seems contradictory. Feels familiar in 2021 America.

Of course, one could understand from Jesus’ teachings that the chief priests didn’t really get it. When Jesus talked about the kingdom of God, his language and teaching may have even gone over their heads, too. They either didn’t understand it or they rejected it. Either is tragic for them and the people they led. Seems that what we continue to witness happen in religious circles when leaders focus their eyes on the wrong king isn’t anything new.

As a follower of Jesus, to declare allegiance to any created being over their Creator declares citizenship in an earthly kingdom. Some scholars teach that Pilate’s note on his sign wasn’t so much a personal declaration as a statement of charge-that Jesus claimed to be the King of the Jews. Interesting that, regardless of his intent, Pilate-the non-Jew, the one not looking for a Messiah, the one who was simply trying to do justice for the accused man-declared the truth.

May we all on this Good Friday declare that Jesus is King.

Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

This Easter

I started this Thursday listening to my Easter playlist. In that, Lauren Daigle’s “How Can It Be” played. These lyrics from verse two stuck in my ears, mind, and heart.

The main reason they stuck is the contrast between the doubting of love and the exchanging of grace. Been on my mind for several weeks now, so these lyrics heard through the lens of Easter stopped me in my morning routine.

That’s what grace does. Makes you pause. Humbles your expectations. Erases your doubts. Brings you back.

May we all pause in humility to be brought back from our wandering through the erasing of our doubts of God’s love this Easter!

Equal Access

Occasionally someone will say to me, “How about you pray for me? Your connection is better than mine.”

We both understand the thought, but reality is it ain’t true. Just because one person may practice praying more than another doesn’t mean their connection is better. For a really clear illustration of that, check out Jesus’ teaching in Luke 18:9-14. Frequency of praying doesn’t assume better.

Does that mean we shouldn’t bother praying regularly? SMH. It means we should take advantage of the access God graciously gives everyone. My connection ain’t better than yours. No ones is. Well, except Jesus. Why? Because of Jesus’ resurrection. That’s right. One of the many impacts of his resurrection for all people is direct access to his Father through him. His sacrifice gave everyone equal access. His job right now is to sit by his Father to intercede on your behalf.

So if you’re tempted to believe the lie that you don’t have equal access and maybe give yourself an out for praying, why not tell Jesus, “How about you pray for me? Your connection is better than mine.”

Watch “No Other King” on YouTube

This song is one of ten originals on my soon-to-be released album “In the Shadows.”

Question: if the video weren’t shot at Christmas and you only heard the lyrics, would you think Easter or Christmas?

If you leave your answer, I will reply with my original inspiration for writing “No Other King.”

Easter Preparation

Thank you for leading us in the Lord’s Supper last night. One of the most precious times I’ve ever experienced it. I think there is something wrong in our hearts if we don’t get emotional every time we take it.

This text came to me this morning from a choir member in reference to our time together before last night’s Good Friday service. 

Yesterday was a day of solitude and remembrance at my house. Mostly reading, listening to Easter songs, and resting. The day prepared me for the night.

One of the songs on my Easter playlist is “O The Blood,” by Kari Jobe. It’s what we listened to in remembrance last night. You can follow this link to remember and to prepare your heart for tomorrow. 

O The Blood [feat. Kari Jobe] by Gateway Worship on Amazon Music

https://music.amazon.com/albums/B00FB34LGU?trackAsin=B00FB34MKA&ref=dm_sh_SA94ziMGUHXXiOWqj7RbsVJrp