Monday, April 17, 2017

The Resurrection Duck






We watch him, a tormented soul, standing on the grassy easement of a narrow two-way street near our house.

It’s Easter morning. The sun has just risen so the traffic is light.  Those who were going to the sunrise service are singing hymns celebrating the empty tomb.  The sleepy-heads are still sleeping in their beds waiting for the second resurrection.

He waddles to the curb and as he is about to step onto the street, the car comes from around the bend so he hops back to safety.  He hesitates for a while, gathering courage for the next attempt.

On the other side his three friends look helplessly, waiting for him to join their party.

His next attempt is interrupted with the speeding motorcycle zooming from the opposite direction.

He races back as fast as his short webby feet would allow him. Back onto the green. Back to safety. 

With each failed attempt the road grows wider and more menacing to his unblinking eye. Practically impassable.

I can’t stand watching his tortured existence any longer.

I look to the right and to the left -  the road clear - I spread my arms wide, a  featherless monstrosity flailing furiously, bearing down on him full speed.

The prospect of becoming an unexpected addition to the main course of an Easter banquet, overrides his paralysis of fear.

For a split-second I think I gave him a heart attack, before he lifts off and flies across the road.

When he safely lands among his friends, I don’t think he fully realizes yet that he has wings… that he can fly. The adrenaline is still rushing through his body, a whale of a story forming inside his little head to tell anyone who is willing to hear. 

His terrifying attempts to cross the road. The feeling of being stuck. Alone. The hopelessness. The paralyzing fear. The ugly mean giant who viciously attacked him... 

... when it finally hits him,


I can FLY!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Missing Child of Easter






Tucked between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is mostly overlooked, largely neglected middle child of Easter.

Saturday, also known as Sabbath.

The Day of Rest.

In this country, it is a day jam-packed with chocolate bunnies and jelly beans, church potlucks and carnivals, Easter egg hunts and other fun activities to kill the time between Good Friday and the sunrise service on Sunday.

I often wonder, though, about that first Sabbath, the first day of rest after the crucifixion of Jesus.

After the drama, the chaos, the noise, the horror – the nightmare of the day Jesus died, how in the world did the friends of Jesus find it in themselves to honor the commandment of God to keep the day of rest as they obviously did??

Everything happened so fast.

Everything happened so unexpected.

Were they reeling from all the thoughts and emotions that swarmed inside them, drowning in confusion and the turmoil that they were simply spent? Emotionally, physically, spiritually exhausted, so they entered a coma of sort, shocked and disengaged as they reached the threshold of human limit to bear grief.

Or did they, while going about their day, slowly, gently, quietly wrap in burial cloths their hopes and dreams, and lay them to rest alongside Jesus’ dead body, remembering with shudder the rolling of the stone, closing on the grave with the final thud?

Were they gathering the little strength that they had left to prepare for facing unimaginable, facing the new week, the first day of the new Jesus-less era, wondering how were they going to survive a minute, an hour, much less an entire day with him gone… knowing its forever?

Or were they somehow, someway able to receive the rest that God gives to all those who trust His goodness even in the darkest, longest night?

I wonder what the friends of Jesus felt on that day...  that must have felt like a thousand-year long sleepless night of rest...


Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Bad News of Easter




Quite awhile ago, I heard somebody say,

If you were the only person on Earth, Jesus would still come to die for you.

Over time the statement got buried under tomes of theological head knowledge, its gritty truth never really trickling down into my heart.  

Year after year each Easter celebration I would give genuine mental consent and sincere lip service to the events in Jesus’ life that culminated on Friday’s crucifixion.

Knowing how the story ends, we seemed all too eager to hoppity- hop over to Easter with it’s colored eggs and chocolate bunnies celebrations, as if glossing over what killed Jesus is going to make it magically (or, some might say, miraculously) disappear.

With so many bad news in this world, we don’t want to dwell on the negative.  

Since we have the Good  news, we have to share it and have to share it quickly.

But, good news isn’t good unless you are willing to hear the bad news first.

So, with your permission, I'll share some bad news.

The cross of Christ is God’s final declaration on human goodness.


If we don't want to take God's word for it, life has a way of convincing us sooner or later.

What this means is that best, most wonderful, kind, industrious, talented, impressive, intelligent, good looking, successful person you and I meet (including the one we see in the mirror) has a dark, broken interior we all try so hard to conceal behind a façade.  Religious façade probably being the most grotesque of all.

Some of us are so convincing that we start believing our own Marketing and PR or Facebook feed.

As if this is not bad enough, it actually gets worse.

Our brokenness is unfixable.  We are irreparably messed up and there is nothing, absolutely nothing you and I can do to fix it. In fact, by trying to fix it, we often make things even worser (does that word exist in English language?)

This truth is so sobering, if we allow ourselves to linger in it for a bit, it has a potential to radically alter the way we see ourselves, the world and people around us. 

Some of us might be driven do despair. 

For some, this despair might be the best thing that happened in the lifetime of escapism and denial.

The Good Friday is God’s final heart-wrenching declaration on human goodness.

There is none. 

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The Taste Test





It really was a dumb, no-win question.  

Are they any good?

If I had thought of it, I would have known that there was one and only one way to find out about the true nature of the advertised mangoes.

I would have to go to the store, get some and try them myself. 

That’s the way with some things in life.

Having stumbled upon enough tasteless, unripe, stringy, woody,  rotten mangoes  – as well as tasted some really good ones,  I find I am becoming more of a skeptic.

I don’t just jump in with both feet simply because somebody posted it on Facebook.

I don't believe it just because I see it, or hear or read about it.

Are they any good?

Well, come and see for yourself.

When Phillip told Nathanael that they found the One promised through Moses and Prophets, Nathanael was skeptical.

There have been too many fake Messiahs parading through history. 

Our age didn’t invent fake news.

How do you know who is the real deal?


Don’t just trust my word for it.


Don’t just believe because somebody says it.

Come and see for yourself.




O taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8

Monday, April 03, 2017

The Mango Tango



Few days ago the manager of my favorite produce store posted a picture on their Facebook page of a pallet stacked high with boxes of mangoes. There was also another close-up of beautiful shiny fruit with $2.99 a box as the advertised price.

I was hooked.

Those mangoes at that price…?!??! The deal was too good to pass.

Just one box wouldn’t be nearly enough for our family. I was already calculating in my head how many boxes - 

...mango salsa, mango smoothie, mango-Key lime pie, Caribbean mango salad...

- we could accommodate when, What if they aren’t any good?, popped inside my head.  

Remember, last time you bought mangoes they were so tasteless you were the only one willing to eat them…

As much as I hate hearing my Rain-on-the-Parade Voice of Reason, I had to admit he got a valid point.  Even the favorite store has a bad apple - or mango - from time to time. But, I wasn’t going to subject myself to another truckload of unripe fruit that went from mediocre to rotting... and they weren't even on sale!

In order to ensure I won't make the same mistake again, I typed up a simple question in the comment box under the pictures,

Are they any good?, then hit the return on my keyboard and saw my words posted on the Internet for the whole world to see forever.

Are they any good?

ARE THEY ANY GOOD????

It was like a delayed reaction.... What was I thinking???!!? I didn’t mean to be insulting but… what was I hoping for...???

For him to cordially reply with,

Oh, they are terrible, just like last time, but we got so many that we are simply trying to unload them to the gullible fools like you.  

Or,

They are bland but tolerable - what do you expect at that price? 

Or, make some other similar self-incriminating comment posted on Facebook, effectively ruining our relationship and their business forever and ever?


Pleading the fifth in this case seemed like the most prudent approach.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

The Walking Wounded







In her book, The Last Best Cure, Donna Jackson Nakazawa quotes a physician speaking at a women’s health conference:

Walk into any of our waiting rooms and it’s full of women in the thirties, forties and fifties. The American woman in her prime is our prime patient; she is the walking wounded of our day.

The quote has been haunting me for months now.

The American woman.

In her prime.

The walking wounded.

Of our day.

Who would have guessed?

Who would have dreamed of such a thing?

The woman who ‘has it all’...

.... her life 'a-dream-come-true' by most standards..

… in the best years of her life…

… living in one of the most affluent - 'the land of promise' - countries in the world…

This woman is a walking wounded of our day.

The irony so severe it would be easy to dismiss as implausible.

On the day when women are recognized and celebrated all around the world,  I marvel at the waiting room statistics that defies logic.

How did we manage to get so fooled?

What happened socially and culturally to perpetrate such tragedy? What is going on inside the American woman to send her on such trajectory of self-destruction?

Every day I am surrounded by ‘American women’ - capable, competent, strong, tirelessly involved  in political, religious, academic arena. 
Always willing to step up to the plate. 

Always there to help and serve.  

Truly impressive.

We applaud them.

We admire them.

Some of us even envy them!

And then, seemingly out of blue…

In her prime…

… the wounds she’s been covering up for so long, now a diagnosis.

Her superhero costume exchange for the hospital gown.

The weight of the whole world she’s been carrying for much too long, pushes her over her weight limit.

The American woman in her prime - the walking wounded of our day...


Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Monday, February 06, 2017

It Ain't Over 'Til It's Overtime





We started getting peppered with, ‘Are we at the point of no-return yet?’  during the first half of the game last night.

It’s still too early to tell…

One touchdown after another…prospects looked pretty bleak.

What about now? Are we now at the point of no return?

Wanting to know the end before the actual ending runs in our family.

We fended off the question with the sagely wisdom of,

It ain’t over ‘til it’s over, scooping the home-made guacamole with spicy nacho Doritos, but I admit I had my doubts.

Yes, come backs happen. 

But so do the decimations. 

We’ve seen a few of both with our own eyes and there was no telling what would happen with this game. Will there be an upset? Or, depending on the side you root for, a steady humiliation that ends in defeat or smooth sailing that ends in well-deserved victory?

By the time the half-time show rolled around, I thought Lady Gaga was going to be the talk of the Super bowl 2017.  And the cool drones.

We sent our kids to bed shortly after the second half started, both of them firmly convinced that the outcome had already been decided. That there was not much game left worthy of staying up to watch.

The rest is history.  In fact, a lot of history’s first were made last night. Not being a football buff, I can only name one or two.

The one that struck me the most was the first Super Bowl ever that had gone into overtime.

Sometimes life feels like that. We feel that we've reached 'the point of no return', and that the winners and the losers have already been decided before the end of the first half. Not much game left worthy to stick around for.  

Our best and highest hope is that there will be plenty of tasty snacks to keep us munching away until bedtime.

But, life has a way of upsetting our bowl, of serving us surprises. 

Sometimes (in fact, more often than in Super Bowl)  it actually extends into overtime! 

The clock is up, but the game is not over.

It’s the final stretch, the final seconds that decide. Those can change everything.

This is good news, really good news for the apparent losers.

There is hope!

This is also an unnerving piece of additional information for those of us who think we've already got the victory in our back pocket.

I suppose, that’s what makes life interesting to the very end. And how the history is made along the way.



Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:10