Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Morning Grace

I am waiting for the meatballs to brown.

When I asked Nanny, Tim's Mom, what she wanted to do for Easter as a family, I mentioned my own family's traditional Easter meal:


I remember as a child my mom making spaghetti and meatballs for Easter dinner.  It's the meal I make just like my mom did.  And every time I put a bite in my mouth, it feels like Easter all over again. 

In the last few days I've thought much about the Easter story.  The gift of God's Grace is that the Old, Old Story has a way of becoming New, over and over again.  And to be telling the Story of redemption to little ones this year has deepened it within me, in a way I had not anticipated.

It took me years to wrap my head around Jesus dying on the cross, but after my last child was born, God helped me understand in a way that cuts right to the heart of me.  All three of my children were born by C-section.  The last required a vertical incision that streches up my belly.  The scars from all of them now form an anchor on my abdomen.  Sometimes when I look in the mirror I laugh and tell myself, "the anchor holds."   I have no idea what natural childbirth is like.   I know well the disappointment and pain of a plan not at all working out the way you think it is supposed to.  That's the way I thought of the cross for years.  Surely there had to be a better way for Jesus to go home to His Father.

And then one day I held my sweet baby boy and heard this Whisper in my heart:  "Was he worth it?"  I knew what God was asking me.  Was it worth it to me to have my body broken so that this child could have life?  "Of course he was worth it," I said back to the Whisper.  "So are you," came the reply.

The Gospel of Mark tells us that when Jesus breathed His last, the curtain in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (15:38).  The curtain is the thing that separates the Most Holy Place from everything else in the temple.  It is there, from the early days of the Tabernacle, that God would meet with His people (Exodus 25:21-22).  And yet the high priest could enter the Most Holy Place only once a year, and then only sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice.  When Jesus was  broken, the power of His Gift of Himself ripped that veil in two, from God's end to ours.  As a consequence, we can enter into the Holy of Holies; God has made Himself accessible.  Through the broken Body of God's Son, we are born into New, Eternal, Abundant Life. 

Here is the part I love--

Jesus did not stay broken.

Can it get any better than this?  Jesus does not walk around Heaven broken!  He is Resurrected!  And those scars, well--

My scars are precious to me.  Really?  Did I just say that?  But they are.  Only God can take something that represented the deepest hurt my body had endured and make it beautiful.  Only God can take the thing that I thought made me look hideous and use it to show me how beautiful I am to Him.  And someday when I get to Heaven I'm going to look at His Son's scars and see my name written in the nail prints on His hands.  Each one of us, our names are written there, because first we were written on His heart.  He looks forward to the day when He can show us in person how deeply His Love has been written all over our story.

The same way my love for my boys is written on my body.

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