Friday, April 20, 2012

The Opposite Direction

With the nicer weather upon us, Kim and I have been going to one of our local parks to get our exercise by walking the loop around the perimeter of the park.  It’s a popular spot for walkers and runners because the loop is clearly marked as a total distance of 1.2 miles with intermediate distances marked along the way.  Thus, it’s easy to keep track of one’s distance.  

Of course, the large majority of people there walk or run the loop by going counter-clockwise.  They get on the path and just naturally go to the right.  The other day, however, I felt like going to the left.  I wanted to see what it was like to walk the loop clockwise.  As I did, I realized I got to actually meet the other people who were walking the path.  Many of them I would run into numerous times as they walked in one direction and I walked in the other. As we passed each other, most would just look straight ahead, but I would do my best to catch their eye and greet them with a “Good morning” or “Hello.”  It was almost a little strange, yet I enjoyed seeing who else was on the path—not just the back of the heads of the people in front of me, or the occasional person I might pass.  There’s something to be said about going in the opposite direction. 

That’s kind of the way Jesus has called us to live our lives.  While people around us are moving together in one particular direction, pursuing a life based on the material and the natural, those of us who are followers of Jesus have been called to go a different way.  We have been called to pursue spiritual and heavenly assets rather than material ones.  We have been called to respond to the situations of our lives differently—with a spiritual perspective rather than a natural one.  Our lives are to be focused on people rather than things as we do our best to live by the principle of love.  To some degree, those around us ought to sense that we are living our lives moving in the opposite direction.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “…set your hearts on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”  (Colossians 3:1-2 – NIV)  Jesus instructed us to, “…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness….”  (Matthew 6:33)  The Bible calls us to be people who live by “faith, hope, and love.”  The Bible is filled with instructions that point us towards a life lived against the natural flow of our world.  Ultimately, it is a life lived following Jesus—walking in the direction he would be walking.  

Today, as you get on the path of your daily life and its routine—at work, school, in the neighborhood, etc.—why not try to find a way to live your life going against the flow?  At first it might seem a bit awkward, but eventually you’ll meet some people you haven’t met before and discover some eternal blessings.

Have a great day! 

Pastor Tim Harris

Friday, April 6, 2012

Crying On Easter

John 20:15 – “…(Jesus) said, ‘Why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’” 

It was the first Easter morning.  Jesus was alive!  He had risen from the dead!  Yet, Mary was in the garden crying.  She was still in a place of sorrow and grief.  Why?  Because the resurrection of Jesus had not yet become a reality to her.  She had not yet experienced the risen Christ for herself.  The One for whom she was looking was alive, but she didn’t know it.  So, Mary continued to cry.  Mary was crying on Easter. 

Then Jesus came along.  And, when he showed up, when the risen Christ appeared, everything changed for Mary. Hopelessness was suddenly gone. The sense of loss disappeared. The grief was overcome. Excitement and joy—mixed of course with mystery and wonder—filled Mary’s to overflowing.  The resurrection power of Jesus Christ changed everything!  Jesus’ new life brought new life to Mary—and to all who would come to know him in his resurrection power. 

We who are Christians know that Jesus is alive.  Yet, so often we find ourselves crying in “the garden”—crying on Easter. Why? Yes, life can deal us some pretty hard blows.  It’s true that our lives can be filled with all kinds of pain.  Yet, we need to ask ourselves, could it be that, although we say we believe Christ is risen, we have failed to let his resurrection, become a reality in our lives?  Could it be that, the Risen Christ stands before us, offering to us his life, yet we have failed to open our eyes to him and respond?  

Jesus asked Mary, “Who are you looking for?”  I’m reminded on this Easter weekend that, the answer to all my grief and pain is found in a “Who” not in a “what.”  When it comes to dealing with the troubles and sorrows of life, my hope is not found in more stuff, in more money, in a better education, etc.  My hope is found in the person of the Risen Christ!  Real life is found in the One who stands before me filled with resurrection power!

As we celebrate Easter, may the Risen Christ become a reality in each of our lives.  May his joy, hope, peace, and resurrection life fill you to overflowing.

Christ is risen!  He’s risen indeed! 

Have a wonderful Easter! 

Pastor Tim Harris