Friday, April 16, 2010

Purple Pleasure



Notice the little visitor hiding from the rain inside the luscious-smelling petals of this gift from God?

I LOVE lilacs!

Civics 101

Spur of the moment. Excitement can live there. And fun. And good lessons.

Cassie and Caroline agreed to drop a school friend off at the Tea Party on tax day. The crowd was colorful and lively so they decided to hang around for awhile. It wasn't long before someone handed Cassie a picket sign to carry. Checking out its message and deciding she agreed with it, hoist it she did. Energy ran through her young veins. "I'm protesting! I'm speaking my mind! I'm engaging in the democratic process." It felt good.

Both girls were inspired by all the different types of people there. Not just old, crabby Republicans. 

An old ('she was even older than YOU, Mom!') hippie woman in hippie attire, beads, long gray hair, a big big smile, a picket sign, and encouraging words approached my daughters expressing her joy at seeing young people exerting themselves in the cause of freedom and democracy. The kids LOVED her and thanked her and were inspired by her.

Cassie and Caroline were not surprised that there were - shall we say demonstrative - opponents driving by with upraised fingers and hollered expressions of disagreement. No surprise there. What DID surprise them was the oft-shouted word, "Racist!!" 

"Why did they call us that? I mean, what were we doing or saying that was in any way racist?" 

The Eugene crowd yesterday was simply protesting the wild use of government spending and encroaching governmental power into the lives of Americans. All Americans. I explained to the kids the media's recent splashing of the epithet 'racist' against Tea Party types because of a still undocumented instance during the signing of the health care bill. It was a good lesson in the power of the media to distort, label, and thwart people and their efforts. Sometimes perseverance wins out, sometimes the media does.

Civics 101.

Friday, April 02, 2010

This Easter Thing

From as far back as I can remember I've always known heavy sadness when thinking of Jesus' torture and crucifixion. How much sympathy can a six year old experience? A lot. And a fifty-three year old? Even more. Yet I only sense a whisper of his suffering.

Those Romans knew how to exact pain and humiliation. Crosses? I still cringe when I see that instrument of torture around the necks of people as jewelry or inked into their skin. Would they sport a guillotine or hypodermic needle should Jesus have died in another century? As a child I used to imagine Jesus walking down a busy street only to see crosses displayed as beauty on the people He loves. I imagined him recoiling from the assault, the reminder. I saw him violently shudder, run away, ask why.

Today I realize many people wear crosses for remembrance. It's important not to forget that Jesus did, in fact, die in a plea for mercy from God the Father. The Father accepted the sacrifice. Three days later He breathed new life into the son of His love. In that moment of amazing grace Abraham's spiritual seed likewise triumphed over death. Good to know! Just as grave markers engraved with crosses express resurrection to come so do empty crosses here and there symbolize the same.  

In that regard, for me, the most joyful reminder of that pivotal point in history is the empty tomb. Jesus the Resurrected walked away from death to life eternal, the first human to do so. His victory leads the way for the rest of us. It is a non-disappointing hope, a promise for those who are compelled by its truth.

I don't wear crosses. I don't have them in my home. They make me weep. In their place I carry a Savior in my heart, a triumphant elder brother who could and did save my soul from darkness. In His honor and in gratitude I live my life as best I can because I believe Him.

And more importantly because I love Him.