Sunday, April 12, 2009

Resurrection reflection (Mary Magdalene)

Here's something I wrote at this time two years ago. According to my stat counter, people from all over the world (Australia, England) are reading this this week. So in honor of Easter, I just thought I'd throw it back up there- it's from the point of view of Mary Magdalene. Be blessed.
“Mary.” Hearing that one simple word, my name, changed everything. To be honest, I was crying so hysterically when I first saw him that I didn’t even recognize him! I thought he was the gardener. The gardener! Didn’t he teach that he was “the vine and his Father was the gardener?” Well God, I guess he is looking more and more like you the longer I know him.

When he said my name, all the confusion and chaos of the past couple of days came to a halt. All of a sudden my identity felt secure and affirmed. I never pictured Jesus going about things this way, but there he was, alive, and once again, helping me understand truth. He calls me by name, he calls us by name, he meets each of us where we are, and has the power to restore everything that’s broken.

In any case, I had been so upset because I thought maybe someone had stolen his body. Everything that had happened the past couple of days was almost unbearably heart-wrenching. Seeing my teacher, my friend, up there on the cross was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. Perfection sandwiched between criminals. Dying a humiliating death in front of people who persecuted him up until he gave up his last breath. Why did it have to be like that? He used to hint about this, but it was too cryptic for me to imagine what was really going to happen.

And there was an earthquake as he died. It was as though the earth was grieving the loss as well. I couldn’t tell which was louder, the chasms being split open on the ground, or the crashing happening inside my heart. Both were devastating. That morning was so dark. The clouds that came over the sun came over my spirit as well.

And then I was supposed to prepare for Sabbath? Yeah right. I felt angry, I felt restless, I felt out-of-control; the last thing I wanted to do was be still. There was no peace to be found this week. I stayed as long as I could outside the tomb. His mom and I and some others reminisced about Jesus’ impact on our lives. I don’t know if it was good or bad to do, since it made us all the more grieved.

I remembered the state I was in when he first found me. I was a mess. I usually don’t like to think about the demons that haunted me, but for a long time they were all I knew. They kind of ‘defined’ me. I believed a lot of lies about myself back then. When Jesus came into my life, he got rid of all of them. I didn’t have the power to do that on my own, and believe me, I had tried lots of ways to seek peace before meeting him.

Go figure, he was the only way to true peace. And he still is. When I was crying in the garden and he came to me, and said my name, I felt a surge of joy run up through my body. I hadn’t felt that in days, and I grabbed him, wanting to be as close as possible.
He said I couldn’t hold on to him, though. That he wasn’t staying. He was going to be with his Father, and told me to tell everyone about him. So that’s what I do now. I tell people, like you, about Jesus. I tell of his teachings, and how he changed my life. And the joy and peace I have now can’t be shaken. He is alive. And he calls me by name.

Friday, April 10, 2009

What's Good about Good Friday?

There can be no joy of Easter without the pain of today; no resurrection without death. Here is some of the text of my favorite sobering hymn for today, expressing our depth of gratitude; I fell in love with this text in college a decade ago. It was written 1000 years ago by St. Bernard of Clairvaux. For those of you taking notes, I would like this to be sung at my funeral.

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine.

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

My Shepherd, now receive me; my Guardian, own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me, O source of gifts divine.
Thy lips have often fed me with words of truth and love;
Thy Spirit oft hath led me to heavenly joys above.

Be Thou my consolation, my shield when I must die;
Remind me of Thy passion when my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee, upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfolds Thee. Who dieth thus dies well.


There's an Alien in my Tummy (and other ramblings)

Lo siento friends, for the blogging lapse; after our WA trip, I was WIPED OUT. It's taken me a while to get back on the horse... A lot of noteworthy things have transpired and we've taken some photos to share, so hopefully I'll get to that soon! Maybe even today... But in the meantime, I thought you may want to know that little Claire Evans is officially huge. Now people I don't know make comments to me about being preggo. Finally! I only have 56 days to go. (I tell her feel free to come early, though...) She is unfortunately a night owl like her mom, and is up and at 'em from 11pm-1am and again 4am-6am, which makes sleeping for me somewhat problematic. At between 3-4 lbs. we can now see her moving all over the place under my skin (which kind of makes me want to puke, but it's cool). We've started keeping a journal to give to her (either when she gets married, or preggo, or graduates from something, we don't know); and that has been fun to write in. We tell her our hopes, prayers, fears, all kinds of stuff; and are having other family and important people write in it as well. Hopefully it won't get lost, and will be meaningful to her when we give it to her...
Other than that... let's see, my legs are starting to hurt a bit more these days. I have to stretch and walk daily, or else they feel weird. Luckily I still feel okay to walk a couple miles a day, though it's getting hotter outside (80s every day), so that's a new factor, as Burly and I pant our way through the golf course:) And the worst thing is I've started to get STRETCH MARKS on my tummy. Not very excited about that!
On other fronts, her nursery still has yet to come together, but she is starting to have a little wardrobe, since people have been very generous toward her. Our goal this month is to get the furniture and bedding and glider all situated. So many decisions to make, I get really overwhelmed. My current quandary is an issue we're revisiting, the car seat and stroller issue. In Seattle, because of the REI 20% off sale, we bought a BOB jogging stroller and are stoked about that. But in regards to a light "mall" stroller, we'll have to figure that out; current candidates are the Bugaboo, the Maclaren, the Peg Perego... who knows. And unless we get an SUV, no car seat sounds super ideal. And last I checked, we weren't getting an SUV. So we'll figure this all out, I'm sure, but these are the things that weigh on my mind, oh yeah, besides the fact that we have no idea what we're getting ourselves into with this whole parenting gig.:) We're reading a lot of books right now, on labor/delivery and infants: eating, sleeping, crying, activity, vaccines, etc. all the good stuff. I know a lot of parenthood will be trial and error (humbling to think!), but at least this feels educational, stuff we've never thought about before!
We'll report back soon:)