Just Jesus at Easter

According to a Barna Study, two out of three Americans recognize Easter as a religious holiday, and less than half, 42 percent, connect Easter with the resurrection of Christ. Easter is decidedly more than chocolate eggs and a bunny. It’s all about Jesus and His everlasting gift for all who call on His name. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13 & Acts 2:21).

Parents, as spiritual leaders, have a wonderful opportunity during Holy Week to walk children through the death and resurrection of Christ. Use the Word of God to lay the framework for the week. Read Luke 19:28-38 before attending the Palm Sunday service. On Good Friday, read Mark 14:22-26 to prepare for Communion. John, chapters 18-20:18, tell of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Make a point this year of making Easter all about the Savior by using the Bible as a teaching tool and less about jelly beans and baskets.

An activity that has made the empty tomb experiential for my children is the baking of Resurrection Rolls. The wide eyes of little ones expresses the wonder of the Savior rising from the dead, leaving the tomb vacant.

Resurrection Rolls

large marshmallows  sugar/cinnamon mixture  melted butter  prepared crescent rolls

1. Open can of crescent rolls and separate into triangles. The rolls represent the linen wrapping used in covering the body. 2. Dip and roll one marshmallow into melted butter. The butter represents the oils used in anointing the body.

3. Roll the marshmallow in the sugar/cinnamon mixture. The mixture represents the spices used in burials. 4. Place the marshmallow in the center of the crescent triangle. Fold and pinch the edges tight. Put each crescent wrapped marshmallow on parchment paper.

5. Bake the rolls as directed on the package. The oven represents the tomb. When cooked, the marshmallow melts leaving only the puffed crescent roll. This demonstrates how Jesus rose from the dead. All that remained in the tomb were the linen wrappings.

May your Holy Week be truly holy. He is risen, He is risen indeed!

Good Fruit or Wormy?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Love, joy, peace, patience… I’ve done a lot of talking about and living out the fruit of the Spirit in the past three weeks, not always successfully. Because of the severity of his injury, my eldest son is not able to put any weight on his broken leg for sixteen weeks. Patience is definitely in order, his and mine. Being an active teen, he is frustrated with his inability to get around. Especially with the weather getting nice, watching others bike, skateboard and rollerblade the prayer for patience is greatly needed. I need to be patient too, as the “new normal” seems to change day by day.

Galatians 5:22-23, the fruit of the Spirit, is displayed in the kitchen. During the renovation, a friend recommended an artist to create a design on tile with fruit and the verses from Galatians for the backsplash of the stove. Everyday I read the characteristics of the Holy Spirit. I’m reminded that I need help, lots of help. I think that’s the point. The traits of of the Spirit are manifested in the believer through the power of the Holy Spirit. I cannot obtain them by myself. I must pray and rely on the Spirit to assist me to become the person God wants me to be, growing spiritually. “Character growth is really personality development due to spiritual growth.”I pray for fruit that is appealing to God and others. It’s all too easy to have wormy fruit! Thank goodness I have the power of the Holy Spirit to help me.

1. Wildenberg & Danielson EMPOWERED PARENTS: Putting Faith First (Gainsville: Synergy, 2003), 57.

Stiches and Staples

The past two weeks have been a mixture of fear and faith, pain and healing. It began with eye muscle surgery, carefully planned between family commitments and parenting classes. The procedure went well. My eye surgeon was amazing, praying with me on his knees prior to the surgery relieving my fear and apprehension. And I had a week to quietly recover.

Saturday afternoon my eldest son fell while trying a new ski trick on the terrain park. After a trip to the hospital in the ambulance, the x-rays revealed a spiral fracture of the tibia and fibula. Surgery was performed the following morning, inserting a rod and pins. The recovery time…sixteen weeks.

The care and concern of our family and friends has been incredible. Cards, gifts, and meals show up on our door step, love through words and deeds. But the prayers have made the greatest impact. His accident happened shortly before the Saturday evening service at our church. The church family prayed. His surgery was during the Sunday morning services. Again, our church family prayed. What could be more powerful? “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them (Matthew 18:20). Yes, He was, He is and He always will be.

Two weeks later, we have found a new normal. The mom-son time has been sweet. Rather than asking, “Why?”, my son is focusing on Who can heal him. The soft cast has been replaced with a boot to protect his leg. The twenty-eight staples have been removed. His skin looks better daily. Physical therapy begins next week.

My family will continue to pray…thanking God for those He has placed in our lives. What a beautiful reminder of His love.