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!