A Restaurant, a Railroad, and a Resurrection: Theo's Story

A Restaurant, a Railroad, and a Resurrection: Theo's Story

I have a new, young friend. His name is Theo. Theo is 19 years old and special. Theo is special not just because he has a special way of thinking and seeing the world,  but because he is an amazing person.  Theo is smart, friendly, and interesting. And I like him a lot.  And I think Theo likes me too. In fact, he says I’m his favorite “Babci” (my Polish grandma name) because our grandson Evan is his best friend. 

I haven’t gotten to know Theo very well yet, but I have discovered that Theo loves people, biking, and trains. And one day around the holidays, I was offered the opportunity to experience all three with him.

Read More

Are You Guarding an Empty Tomb?*

Are You Guarding an Empty Tomb?*

It is Finished!

There were soldiers that guarded Christ's tomb. And for them this was not just "another day at the office," because this time the death of the "Criminal" presented new problems: would the followers come to steal His body? Would He actually do what He said and come back to life? (I'm not so sure the officials really worried about this last possibility, do you?)

So the stone ... and so the guards! Until...

Read More

Holy Week: 7 Sayings of Christ with B.C. 2001

Holy Week: 7 Sayings of Christ with B.C. 2001

A few years ago, I came across an inspiring cartoon in my "Easter" file (See enlarged image below).  I think my husband John, who had been the family reader of the Sunday funnies in years gone by, cut it out and gave it to me back in April 2001.  So there in my file, this little treasure has been tucked away for all these years.

For those of you who have been following the Lenten Meditations on a branch in the Vine, this piece serves as a fitting climax during Holy Week.

Read More

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Reunion

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Reunion

Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.

So goes a traditional nighttime prayer taught by American moms to their children for generations. It may seem odd to us today that there would be the mention of death in a child's prayer.  But scientists say that sleep is the closest we come to death while still alive.  The Greeks even had a proverb,

Sleep and death are brothers.

However, in the first century, Jewish moms taught their children a different bedtime prayer...quoting Psalm 31:

Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit.

Read More

Invited to the Dance -- Perichoresis

Invited to the Dance -- Perichoresis

Prom time is just around the corner. Do you remember those days in your own life? The beauty! The excitement! The “romance” of it all! Rarely does it measure up to all our anticipation, and yet there is something about the dance that draws us in, doesn’t it.

As you may recall from my last blog post, the image of the dance is my favorite metaphor for the life of faith. When I said YES to the LOVER of my Soul, I became one with Him. I accepted His invitation to the dance of all dances … one that will never end and one that is all about Love.

Read More

The Dance of FAITH: Moving with His Life-giving Flow

The Dance of FAITH: Moving with His Life-giving Flow

A few years ago, my husband and I were at some friends’ house.  This couple liked to gather miscellaneous people who knew them but not each other. True to form, they asked a great icebreaker question.  The particular question that evening was, 

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would that be? Your secret ambition?

 

Read More

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Completion

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Completion

Tetelestai!* It is finished! The death of Christ on the Cross is the HINGE of human history...and nowbefore He breathes His last breath... a cry of victory,It is finished!

What's finished? It must be something BIG,...look at what happened when Jesus died:

At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead.

Read More

No Joke! He is Alive ... Forever! And So Am I!

No Joke! He is Alive ... Forever! And So Am I!

Last year, I posted this for April Fool’s Day. Even though Easter is several weeks away this year, this post is no less true. HE IS ALIVE & I am free!

He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.
Matthew 28:6 NLT

Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live.
John 14:19 NLT

Read More

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Personal Need

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Personal Need

Thirst is a primal need in all of us humans...more demanding even than hunger!  We can go quite awhile without eating, but a very short time without drinking. Jesus on the Cross had refrained up to this point from satisfying His thirst.  Instead He drank the Father's cup to the very last drop! He became sin for us...the Sinless One!  Jesus took our place, and the Father turned His back.  The punishment for sin had been accomplished...spiritual separation from God....for US!

Now in fulfillment of prophecy, Jesus expresses His own physical need:

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said ( to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. John 19:28-29 ESV

Read More

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Abandonment

Lenten Meditation:  a Word of Abandonment

Abandoned!  Left on the "doorstep of Life"...but with no Rescuer in sight! What happens next in the unfolding drama of the crucifixion of our Lord is incomprehensible!

It's an abandonment so profoundly mysterious that it boggles the mind...but ravishes the believing heart! Let's watch it unfold...

It is noon. By this time, Jesus has already forgiven ... 

Read More

Starting from Scratch: a Retreat Meditation

Starting from Scratch: a Retreat Meditation

This past weekend I had the joyful opportunity to join with a lovely group of ladies from my church with the express purpose of experiencing our God on a deeper level. The group was comprised of women of all ages who were at different stages in their walk with God. Yet despite the differences, an amazing oneness prevailed. How like the Holy Spirit to join us in Christ and allow us to sense Him in and through each other!

On Friday evening, I had the privilege of sharing the opening meditation. If you were at that retreat, you may like to revisit our focus by reviewing the meditation. If you weren’t able to join us for whatever reason, please join us here now as we explore the rest we are called to in Christ, who is our Focus, our Ground Zero, our Foundation, our All!

Actually HE IS the Christian Life! Amen!

Read More

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Family Affection

Lenten Meditation:  a Word of Family Affection

Dear woman, behold your son...behold your mother. (John 19:26)

Jesus has a special love for His own. As we've already seen with His forgiving and saving attitude in the midst of excruciating agony, His concern was not with His own suffering.  Rather His attention was next drawn to His precious loved ones at the foot of His cross, His mother and His beloved disciple John.

What agony Jesus must have seen on Mary's face.

Read More

The Call to Morning Prayer with St Patrick's Breastplate

The Call to Morning Prayer with St Patrick's Breastplate

The indwelling Holy Spirit calls to my soul in the early morn — to turn my thoughts toward Him and away from the anxieties, fears, stresses, and “to do lists” of my weak, broken and “know it all” flesh.

With every morn my life afresh must break
The crust of self, gathered about me fresh;
That thy wind-spirit may rush in and shake
The darkness out of me, and rend the mesh
The spider-devils spin out of the flesh …

Read More

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Salvation

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Salvation

Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise. Luke 23:43

Jesus seems to have a special love for lost people.  I love the stories He tells in Luke 15.  The first is the beloved story of the shepherd who has a hundred sheep but leaves the ninety-nine to look for the one that is lost.  Then when he finds his lost one, he calls in his neighbors and friends to rejoice with him.

Read More

Lenten Meditation: Forgiveness Revisited

Lenten Meditation:  Forgiveness Revisited

I used to think that the struggle to forgive was itself sinful...as well as the horrible feelings I had in the whole thing.  But I've come to realize that the struggle and the feelings are all part of the human condition on this earth.  Perhaps they are rather temptations to the sin of unforgiveness.

Here are the five points that Lewis Smedes writes in his bookShame and Grace.  I pray these points will be helpful to you as well.

Read More

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Forgiveness

Lenten Meditation:  a Word of Forgiveness

Alexander Pope (1688-1744), English poet, once said,To err is human; to forgive, divine.

So true...but we humans more readily echo what someone else has said,

To err is human, but to get even? THAT is divine.

We struggle so, with forgiving our offenders!  Perhaps that's why we are amazed and awestruck to realize that Jesus' first words from the Cross were ones of forgiveness.

Read More

Dust to Dust but Glory to Glory!

Dust to Dust but Glory to Glory!

From dust you have come, and to dust you shall return. 

Ash Wednesday has taken on a new meaning for me in recent years, since my 91 year old mom passed away early in November 2015. There was something that arrested me right in my tracks the day of my mom's funeral. I was undone by deep sobs of realization. And the depth of it had been helped along by the incense and the reverence afforded the treatment of my dear mama's frail little body being put to rest (or so they say).

But it wasn't the finality of it all. It had already been final when she had breathed her last, days before.

No! It was the Sacredness that came crashing through!

Read More

Lenten Meditation: Last Words and Conversations

Lenten Meditation:  Last Words and Conversations

The last words of a dying person are important.  They can communicate good or ill to those left behind.  Why?  Because the last words are so final...and so revealing of what was uppermost in the person's mind as he was leaving this earth to face his Maker. I've never been at the bedside of a dying person.  But I have been with a few people just days before their death.

Read More

Lenten Meditation: Dust to Dust

Lenten Meditation:  Dust to Dust

I grew up in a liturgical church.  So from my childhood into my early adulthood, I observed the church calendar.   Ash Wednesday marked a real turning point in the calendar year.  It was a turn from comfort, frivolity, and enjoyment (think Mardi Gras) to a time of repentance, self-denial, and mortification called Lent. Ash Wednesday was a day when we all remembered that someday we would each die and face our Maker.  The priest would put the sign of the cross on our foreheads in black ashes and say,

Remember, Man, that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return. [based on Genesis 3:19]

Read More

Living the Colorful Life ... even as the winter drags on

Living the Colorful Life ... even as the winter drags on

Hi friends, no crocuses are pushing through the hardened soil here in Ohio. Usually by now, those hardy “souls” have at least given us a bit of hope of the spring ahead.

So I thought of this post and how it could “color up” our souls while we await what surely is to come. So pause with me as we revisit a post from May 2016.

God lives a colorful life . . . or maybe better said, God lives His life in color!

All we need do is look around. Color is everywhere . . . in nature, in people, even in feelings, ideas, and circumstances.

Read More