Hosanna Procession

A friend entered eternity this week. She’d been an inspiration to me, her attitude toward life one of positive assurance that God would take care of her.

She’d reared three children after her husband left to find other women, had worked as a fraternity cook for nearly three decades, and had walked the cancer journey alone when illness struck later in her life. Her response to trials was always, “God has taken care of me in the past, he’s taking care of me now, and he will take care of me in the future.” Her unwavering faith in the face of hardship spoke volumes to those of us who knew her.

When I read of her death, I was warmed knowing she made her exit from this earth to heaven the same week we celebrate Palm Sunday—Christ’s glorious entrance into Jerusalem. He and his disciples were headed to the holy city to celebrate Passover. He knew, as he stood at the top of the hill leading to the main gate, he would not leave alive. Time for the fulfillment of his purpose had come. Mankind would forever be changed. Jesus would become the sacrificial lamb, offering anyone who believed in Him hope for eternal life in heaven.

In Ephesians 2:4-7 we are told: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

As I read those words and thought of what Christ did for us at the cross, I imagined my friend’s final triumphant walk into the arms of her Savior. Goodbye dear friend. Save a spot for me.

First Day of Spring–Not to be confused with Easter Miracle

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Next Tuesday marks the first day of spring! Already the daffodils are blooming, the crocuses are purpling the landscape and the flowering plums are lining our street. The arrival of spring, marking the beginning of warmer days and summer flowers, makes me want to sing.

 As my children were growing up, we would celebrate the first day of spring by hunting chocolate eggs in the yard. We’d pretend that a spring robin had chosen to leave the candy with us for safe keeping. We would then head to the kitchen to color real eggs for an endless supply of egg salad sandwiches the next two weeks.

By separating the fun of activities associated with spring—eggs, bunnies, birds and nests—from the miracle of Easter, I hoped my children would grow up understanding the sacrifice that had been made for them at Calvary. When His claim as the Messiah was rejected by his people, the Lord Jesus Christ went to the cross to die on the eve of Passover. He rose alive the third day after in order to give all mankind a guaranteed plan for heaven.  I didn’t want my children to grow up missing all that Easter means shrouded in a manmade sugar high.

It amazes me how our culture works so hard to mask the truth of Easter by masquerading bunnies as egg layers, chicks as chocolate, and jelly beans as bird eggs. Had a rabbit been nailed to a cross, its paws bloody from the nails that pierced them and the wood stained by the loss of life, I am certain that the outcry from the inhumane treatment of an animal would have made national news.  The Humane Society would have marked the day as a national holiday to remind us of the cruelty and proclaimed Peter the rabbit as their mascot.

Should Jesus have any less acclaim?

Scripture tells us that the veil in the temple was torn in two at the moment that Jesus breathed His last breath. Matthew 27:50-51“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”

How many of the Sanhedrin realized at that moment what they had done? How many went to their graves knowing they had killed God’s anointed? Did they ever know that their actions were part of God’s plan of providing a way to heaven for everyone, even a Gentile like me?

Enjoy your first day of spring. And for those of you who have been blessed with the warmth of sun, would you please tell it to come to the Northwest? The snow and rain are getting old.