Playdates with God: Sunrise Service

It rains on Easter morning and I rise early so I can attend the sunrise service in the park. I know I will miss worship at our church—staying home with a boy who is still recovering from surgery so my husband can lead worship. I can’t stand the thought of not being with other believers on this Resurrection Day, so even though there is rain, I head out with no makeup, no Easter dress or fancy hat…I don’t even brush my teeth.
The world smells like earthworms and I can see my breath trail out before me. But we sing He Livesand Christ the Lord is Risen Todayinto the damp heaven and I listen to the rain make music on the roof of the shelter.
And my heart is glad.
The preacher, he preaches about stones crying out—about stones rolled away. He preaches about stones as a witness to the whole messy, tragic, beautiful story.
But when we sing the chorus to Because He Lives, when we sing these words:
Because he lives
I can face tomorrow
Because he lives
All fear is gone
Because I know
He holds the future
And life is worth the
Living, just because
He lives
When we sing those words, I cry for a boy I used to know. A boy whose family I have loved, a boy I have counseled and held in prayer. A boy who took his life the day before.
I’m still here, breathing out and in but the chorus of that song bids me ask—am I living? How do I face my tomorrows—is fear really gone from my life? The Resurrection, the Life…the very stones cry out his glory. And too many days I let the Kingdom pass me by. Too many days I choose the shadow kingdom of this world instead of the one I know to be true.
But on a rain-soaked Easter morning the scales fall from my eyes and I see. I see, if only for a little while. I see and I believe with my whole self—my mind lowered into my heart.
He lives.

*Over at The High Calling today, we start a new book club discussion on Ann Kroeker‘s Not so Fast. It’s the perfect book to read after Easter–a book to help us maintain the slowing down and focus on God. Will you join us?

How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:

the Playdates button:

 and With Michelle today:

The Joy of Dying

On Good Friday we all sleep in. After breakfast, I take them for haircuts and we buy new shirts for Easter. We go out for lunch and as I study my full plate, I am wounded. It’s been an upside down Lent with none of my usual disciplines and this full plate on Good Friday feels like betrayal.
The women followed him all the way from Galilee. The Gospel of Luke tells us that when he hung on the cross, the women stood at a distance, watching these things.
They did not let the horror that was taking place before them cause them to avert their eyes. And yet…my eyes shift with the smallest of distractions.
How can I yet forget his love so easily?
When we return home, I need to step away from this world that clutches at my heart and wraps around it like ivy—weaving it blind. We go into the woods and here I can breathe. It’s the silence of the tomb but this quiet works its resurrection. And this is the joy of dying—this expectation of a new birth. 
We wait with bated breath.

With my sandy, the

Holy Wednesday: Alabaster Jar

Today I planted kale, broccoli, and onions in the garden. A gentle breeze blew all day and the trees with their skeletal green bristled softly. It’s holy Wednesday.
Wikipedia tells me this day is sometimes called Spy Wednesday—though this is news to me—referring to Judas’ agreement to betray Jesus. Tradition also holds this as the day we remember the sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears.
Another day of contradictions. Another day of bemused wonder. Thirty pieces of silver. An alabaster jar.
Who is this Jesus who even forgives sins? The one who lets a sinful woman weep over his feet and dry his skin with her hair?
It is dark now and I stand at the window looking up into a glacial sky. The white that covers dark blue is the same one that brought the rain through earlier. The rain that gently quenched my newly planted seeds and bulbs. There is no moon and it makes me sad. I hope it is a star-drenched sky tomorrow for our Maundy Thursday service.
My heart is breaking slowly with each step we take toward the cross.
Earlier this evening, our church had its annual Easter egg hunt. The boys are too old now, but they help hide the eggs before going downstairs with the youth to stink up those tiny rooms off the fellowship hall with their growing body smells and do all the things that teenagers do. I send them with their father and while they are gone I go for a run.
It happens after the fourth mile. The air is lusty with scent from all the blooming trees. And sorrow overwhelms me. It might just be the thick velvet layer of yellow pollen that covers our valley right now if I didn’t feel this twisting in my heart. And I remember his words on the road to the cross…Do not weep for me, he said. And shortly after that: For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?
The trees are green lace with leaves unfolding and the world is wet from the rains that just passed through an hour before. A sob catches in my throat and I know we Christians are supposed to claim the joy but I can’t help it.
I’m so sorry, Jesus,I silently say. I’m so, so sorry.
The wind picks up and all around me is white as I run through scattered petals shed free. My tears fall thick and my alabaster jar is in shards, silently drifting with the breeze.
With my sweet friend Jennifer today: 
And with the lovely kd: