(This post was originally published on the Baptist Convention of New England’s blog on October 16, 2019. You can find it here.)
Women have longed for romance since the beginning of time. (Small wonder: the first words spoken to us from human lips were lyrics of a love song.) Something deep in us thrills at the chase, whether it’s being pursued or being the pursuer.
As a kid, I loved Mowgli’s adventures with the monkeys of Angkor Wat. Those ruins seemed so exotic, almost magical. Now I consider the piles of Cambodian rubble beautifully tragic: a previously thriving place of worship has crumbled, and all that’s left is an impressive shadow of its former glory. Sure, it draws tourists, but its original purpose is no longer being fulfilled. John 2 takes us from Cana to Jerusalem. While the wedding shows off the abundant exuberance ushered in with Christ’s new messianic age, the temple reveals that His people are being crippled by a religious system that spiritually resembles Mowgli’s decaying playground.
If it’s been a while since you immersed yourself in the story of Esther, I guarantee it will be a half-hour well spent. With equal parts romance and bloodshed, the tagline could easily read, “All’s fair in love and war.” Oddly enough, you never see God’s name even once, but He’s there working behind the scenes of this epic chapter in the Big Story. Want a teaser of the main characters?
Winter pulls me inward, spring calls me forth, and summer sets me loose, but fall—it invigorates me down to my toes. There’s nothing like the energy that accompanies orchards and county fairs; you can almost taste it. Football games send cadences up into the air until even the staunchest introvert is dizzy with excitement. Leaves come crashing to the earth in a mad rush while mugs fill with steaming cider and plastic buckets fill with candy. Foggy mornings give way to crisp, clear afternoons scented with anticipation. Oh, friends! The God who thought all this up must be a very good God indeed.
(This post was originally published on the Baptist Convention of New England’s blog on September 28, 2019. You can find it here.)
Has God ever ambushed you?
I recently attended a conference session about the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). The speaker did a wonderful job of applying this timeless story by discussing the rocks we all carry around in our pockets, just waiting for the opportune time to lob them at “that one person.” And we each knew who “that one person” was for us.
“Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
Little girls all over the world dream about their wedding day, but Jesus has been dreaming about His wedding day before the first little girl ever to walk the earth drew breath.
Obviously, there’s a throne. It was crafted at great length and with infinite care by the best of the warrior poets, gilded and gleaming and fairly bursting with anticipation as it waits to be occupied.
Drapes—two or three stories tall, stitched of crimson velvet and moonlight—tower up the walls like pillars of glory. Stately marble that radiates from within forms the arches that stretch so impossibly high only to meet, kiss, and plunge down again on the other side.
Dearly beloved, it is with deep sadness that we gather together in the shadow of Golgotha today. The brightest Light this world has ever known has been extinguished, and our hope has died with Him.
You might be one of the masses who called Jesus Rabbi, following His brief but explosive three-year ministry and teachings whenever He came to town. You may be among the crowds who knew Him as Healer, having experienced His incredible power personally. To you, He may have been your carpenter or classmate or friend. You could be a family member who had the great honor of calling Him Son, Brother, Cousin, or Uncle.
No matter what Jesus of Nazareth was to you, you must have felt the intense mark He left on every heart He encountered.
Red letter day: a day that is pleasantly noteworthy or memorable
English nerd that I am, I’m a sucker for double meanings, and I’ve been holding this series idea in for much too long. Over the next few posts, we’ll focus on the big days (red-letter ones) in the life of Jesus (who apparently spoke in scarlet, according to some Bible printing processes). Get it? Red letter days.