pass over

The Passover celebration commemorates God’s unbelievable rescue of the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. As part of this incredible rescue, and the Israelites’ first born sons were saved from the angel of death by the blood of a lamb upon their door posts.

God, through Moses, parted the waters of the Red Sea so they could walk on dry ground, freeing them as slaves. God didn’t want his people to forget this significant event in history – so each year a special meal commemorated this day.

Our story today takes place at a Passover meal some 1500 years after the exodus.

Let’s find out more about this meal – with Jesus and his disciples.

John 13 (NET)
Just before the Passover feast, Jesus knew that his time had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now loved them to the very end. 2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, that he should betray Jesus. 3 Because Jesus knew that the Father had handed all things over to him, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 he got up from the meal, removed his outer clothes, took a towel and tied it around himself. 5 He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself.

6 Then he came to Simon Peter. Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not understand what I am doing now, but you will understand after these things.” 8 Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus replied, “The one who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 (For Jesus knew the one who was going to betray him. For this reason he said, “Not every one of you is clean.”)12 So when Jesus had washed their feet and put his outer clothing back on, he took his place at the table again and said to them, “Do you understand what I have done for you? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and do so correctly, for that is what I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you too ought to wash one another’s feet.

So much is going on in this snippet, just before Jesus’ death.  Jesus demonstrates humility by washing the feet of the men he was closest too on this earth.  Jesus demonstrated servanthood by washing the feet of his disciples, but the events just hours away demonstrated ultimate humility – just hours later, he would be arrested, beaten, and killed upon a cross meant for a criminal.

THE ultimate act of a servant – dying for someone else.

The Passover meal included a lamb – when the Israelites were in Egypt, a lamb was sacrificed so that the firstborn Israelite wouldn’t have to die – the blood of the lamb was applied to the door and the angel of death passed over that house.

Each year they would say: “The lamb died instead of me.”

Exodus 12:

“Each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household” v.3
“Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door frames…” v. 7
“That same night the are to eat the meat roasted over the fire…” v. 8
“This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD – a lasting ordinance.” v. 14

Generations to come celebrated this event – which is why Jesus, some 1500 years later, celebrates the Passover.

Jesus knew the events that would follow this meal: Judas’ betrayal, arrested and handed over to be beaten, humiliated culminating in his death.

Everything in all God’s big story pointed to this night – the tree in the garden where Adam and Eve took and ate the fruit lead to the next tree – the cross.
Everything God did,
every sin the people committed,
every sacrifice that covered the sins committed,
the prophets, priests, kings – they all pointed to this night.

Through Jesus, God said – “I am about to deal with evil and sin and death once and for all.”

This. Was. It.

All the hurts and heartaches.
All the lies and deceit.
All the pains we closely bear in our hearts.
All the ways we rebel against God.
This one act restored us so we can know God
and he could give us a second chance.

God was already making everything new –
from the first tree in the garden – to this tree, the cross.
God was rescuing,
God was making a way,
And God was working out his perfect plan for us.
Through the perfect Lamb of God – Jesus Christ.

“The lamb died, instead of me.”
“The lamb died, instead of you.”
“The lamb died, instead of us.”

The lamb died – so you and I could be saved, and know God the father.

John the Baptist when he saw Jesus said:
“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

The Prophet Isaiah said this of Jesus:
“He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Isaiah 53:7

Do you know the Lamb of God?
Did you know Jesus, the lamb of God died instead of you? That he died for you?

“The lamb died instead of me.”

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until it happens

Isn’t it funny?
Everything seems like a great idea
until it happens.

Move across the country and attend seminary..
but leave all your friends and family behind.
Move across the country so you can [potentially] meet your spouse..
but have everyone you’ve loved and longed for leave or let you down.
Move across the world to do ministry and be near your family…
but live with questions and fears whether it was really the right thing.

I live in the tension
of the life I long to live
and the life I’m living right now.
As if these two were so different
but sometimes they are in my mind.

Faced with a choice and decision that will impact the destination of the next chapter.

Move back to the land of barrenness and heartache…
to perhaps grasp what I’ve been reaching for.
Move to a land unknown full of possibilities…
only to be left alone, with myself and my thoughts.

Reaching forward and reaching back
cannot be done at the same time,
you must choose: future or past.
Which will dictate your path?
The choices you didn’t choose, or the chances you did take?

Perhaps all that we long for and all that we hope,
are right in front of us, right under our nose.
Perhaps the person we are and the person we long to be
are one in the same,
and the tension of both can become one.

It’s not really funny
many things seem like great ideas
until reality sets in
until it happens.
But the true treasure lies in your moments and days
embracing today while it is still called “today.”

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to those who wait

To those who wait,

I am one of you.  I am you.  Longing, waiting hope and fear.  I am one who waits.

I live my life in quiet, or I strive to.  Though in my quiet, here is waiting, anticipation and… much restlessness.

While I wait, I wrestle.  Part of the waiting is a stream of doing too.  Waiting for me is not idle.  It is active.  

What am I waiting for?  Many things.  For my eyes to one day behold what I hope for, faith becoming sight.  For perfection.  For joy on this earth.  For promises to become realities.  Many things.

In my restlessness, two years ago I sold most of my earthly possessions, and packed my tiny two-door car with whatever would fit and moved to Dallas, Texas to attend Seminary.  My life will never be the same since that day.  I can’t explain it, but my two years here have been like a gentle breeze, making its way through the empty spaces of my heart… awaking many things in me by the means of the Holy Spirit.

This past week was one of those gentle breezes, only it was more like a powerful wind, studying grace and salvation in a one week intensive course.  

There are many people to whom I have much gratitude to give, and Dr. Glenn Kreider is one of those people.  Thank you Dr. Kreider for your sacrifice of this past week, and your life given to teaching students at Dallas Theological Seminary.

I cannot sum up this week in a simple blog post, or even many blog posts.  It is just not possible.  But as I sort out these things and work out my own salvation, some of those “working outs” may appear here on my blog, to those who read, and to those who wait (for the posts.. sorry!  I’m slow..)

To those who wait, and to myself, as one who waits: do not stop waiting.  Live in the tension of that which is now, and the hope of that which is promised.  It has to be worth it, because there really isn’t much else to hold on to as I look around at this ever changing world we live in.

There are many things in life I am not sure about in life, but I am sure that I am desperate for God’s grace.  And I am also sure that I know I’ve never deserved that Grace, and I never will.

The mystery and wonder

There is something about Advent 
Filled with mystery and wonder
in the midst of busy lives filled with noise
noise that simply fills the silence
we are invited to pause, reflect and wonder once again.

Imagine how it is that God himself became man
how it is that God took on human flesh
we stand in awe of the mystery of the incarnation
can we ever humanly understand this beautiful, awful, preposterous thing?

But God dwelled.
God dwelled among his people
Tabernacled with his people
so we could have a mediator
the God-man.
Emmanuel, God with us.

The wonder of Advent is the story,
the story that each moment,
we are invited once again to join
again and again.
Because no, it’s not just a story,
its the reality of mankind:
hope.

And hope is a person: Jesus Christ.

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2994 Hawaiian Avenue.

I’m not sure what triggered it, but the other day I had this intense longing to go to my Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  The arrival into their driveway, the few steps you take up to the doorway, then after a good, loud knock (Grandpa definitely has some hearing problems), Grandma would greet us at the door with a huge smile across her face and wide open arms to hug each of us.  One, two, three, four girls… then Mom and Dad.

No doubt on this visit, like all the others, Grandma would have her apron on, covered in flour after just finishing the pie crust for chocolate pudding pie, my personal favorite.

The smell of Grandma and Grandpa’s house isn’t one you can replicate in a tiny candle called “Grandpa and Grandma’s house”, but if they did make a candle that smelled like their house, I most surely would have it.

The smells of dinner in the oven, pies baking, dusty books in the library, a collection of old coats from the 80’s in the closet, leather cowboy boots, laundry detergent, the dog and of course Grandpa’s aftershave and Grandma’s “Moonlit Path” lotion from Bath and Body Works.  All those smells together just make your troubles melt away as you step in the door.

Of course like any other visit, my sisters and I would either be fighting over who would use the computer, who would first play the keyboard or who would swing on the swing set built by my Grandpa outside.

Before too long, Mom gave us a look that so clearly communicated: “Remember to ask Grandma if she needs any help… OR ELSE!” and of course as the oldest, and most responsible, I was the only one to actually help.  But, whatever, I never minded because it usually meant I could sneak a little sample of dessert while no one was looking.

Dinners were memorable, and of course better than any weeknight meal we might have at home.  Grandpa always piled his food so high, and we could bet he would ask someone to “toss a roll” at some point during dinner.  So of course, we did.  Literally.

Peace.  Their home with all the smells, sounds, sights and memories makes me feel at peace, it still does.  Even today, seven years since my Grandfather’s death and almost almost three years since my Grandma’s death.

I can think of that home and be instantly transported to those treasured moments.

I miss them.  A lot.

Now, the home is unoccupied, owned by the bank.  I think.

One day I hope it will be filled with the laughter that so filled our family dinners, the tears that often streamed down my face when I sat in Grandpa’s empty chair needing advice from my Grandma and joy that will impact a new generation.

Nothing is meaningless.

Nothing is lost.

Hope remains.

I can’t wait to see Grandpa and Grandma again one day.  This time, in our TRUE home.

One year.

One year.  A lot can change in one year.  

One year ago my Dad and I were on day two of our trip moving me across the country from Oregon to Texas. 

So much has changed.

Faith.  Trust.  Waiting.  Hope.  

My feeble knees have been strengthened, and my weary heart has grown strong again.  God has been faithful, and never once have I ever walked alone.  I say that with tears welling in my eyes, because there were days I doubted this, and heaven remained silent as I cried this past winter.  Yet God gathered my tears in his bottle, and the Holy Spirit, the comforter, has come to my side at times when I just didn’t have the strength to face another day.

What does the next year hold?  I have no clue.  But I’m ready and expectantly waiting to see how God continues to meet needs and show himself continually faithful.