Monthly Archives: April 2017

Roll On!

Roll On!

Jakson prayed on Easter Sunday. He looked his very Easter Sunday best, pink pants, long sleeve blue shirt, hair slicked back, fresh out of the deep theological experience of 6-year-old kids church. The whole family was gathered. We held hands in anticipation of deviled eggs (What! On Easter), chicken casserole, and sweet potato pie. Josh, my son, called on Jakson, the youngest, to pray. It was masterful.

“Thank You God for sending Your Son Jesus into the world to die for our sins. Thank You Jesus for hanging on the Cross. And…thank you Jesus for rolling on that tombstone. AMEN” Great prayers should leave you hanging with the intellectual mysteries they invoke. Jakson’s was a great prayer. Rolling on that tombstone. What are the spiritual insights hidden in this theological metaphor? What eternal truths lie waiting to be unpacked as we wrestle with the profound imagery of Jesus, like a Paul Bunyan logger, walking on a spinning log in the river, as we see Jesus standing on a barrel shaped tombstone and rolling it back and forth through the Garden of Gethsemane.

Now I don’t recall that story in the Gospels but I am certainly not contradicting my grandson. It seems to me that rolling on the tombstone would very much be Jesus’s way. He played with children. He laughed with His disciples around the fire. He even did some tricky things with them like asking which woman touched Him when the crowd was packed in one day. Or saying to the lame guy by the pool of Bethesda that had not walked in 38 years, “Just pick up your bed and walk.” I am sure that God is a God of joy and much of what Jesus did, He did with a smile on His face. Although He was from the Northern part of the Kingdom, I bet he still said to His followers from time to time, “Hey, Ya’ll watch this.” Imagine the chuckle He had when big mouth Peter said, “Hey, I want to walk on the water,” and Jesus says, “Well, come on.”

John Ortberg says, In The Life You’ve Always Wanted, “Joy is God’s basic character. Joy is his eternal destiny. God is the happiest being in the universe…As products of God’s creation, creatures made in his image, we are to reflect God’s fierce joy in life” Fierce Joy! We are to reflect that. Oh, tough stuff will come today. I am pretty sure you will encounter rejection, disappointment, a sudden change of plans because of unforeseen circumstances. The fact is that almost every day holds some kind of trial or tragedy. And no one would blame you for pulling the covers back over your head, growling at the dog, and just trying to sleep your troubles away. Or what if you stopped at the package store early and got a little liquid courage to help you endure the hardship. My coping method of choice is to invite myself to a pity party of one and sit in my mad mood chair thinking how unfair my life is.

I’m doing something different today. James says, “Consider it ALL joy, my brethren…” (James 1:2). This morning I am taking my cues from Jakson. I’m going to hop right up and roll on that tombstone. This problem is not going to get me down, I’ll roll right over it. That person criticizing me has no power, “Zoom.” Rolling right by. We might be on to something here. Let’s start a club, TRFJ, Tombstone Rollers For Jesus. I’ll order the leather jackets…Roll on!


Backwards Land

Reading today Psalm 95 and John 18:24-40 Jon-Mical and Jakson are our grandsons. They are 9 and 6, with birthdays in January and February. For a couple of years now we have been sharing an ongoing story when they come over to spend the night. We all squeeze in the same bed together, Mimi, Jon-Mical,… Continue Reading

And Peter

Reading for today: Psalm 94 and John 18:15-27 Wow, this got long but it is my favorite topic. Sorry. Read it in three settings. Just kidding.   I like John. Apparently, John liked John. He often referred to himself as “the disciple that Jesus loved.” When all the disciples were choosing nicknames he said, “Call… Continue Reading

The Safe Place

Reading for today: Psalm 91 and John 18:1-14 My wife’s mother was terrified of storms. Under the little farm house where they lived (and my father-in-law still lives) was a rough-cut cellar, unfinished and dug out of the Tennessee limestone. It was dusty and dank and dark. They used it to spread out potatoes from… Continue Reading

Now I Lay Me

Reading today: Psalm 90 and John 17:6-25 We grew up in a parsonage. My father pastored small churches in the south and we made up a pretty significant percentage of the congregation. Mike, (my first name is Charles but if you ever use that our friendship is terminally over), Charlotta, Chonda, and Cheralyn. All started… Continue Reading

Celebration and Palm Sunday

Celebration and Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday Reading: Psalm 92-93 and John 12:12-50 I know it’s Sunday. My plan all along on our 40 Days of Reconciliation was to write only Monday through Friday and not on weekends except Palm Sunday and Easter weekend. Traditionally the 40 days of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and does not count weekends. So,… Continue Reading