Mary

Easter People

We are a paradox people.
We look at loss of prizes,
But by our cries of desperation,
God Almighty rises.

The world in search of power,
Sometimes within our titles,
But those who are the remnant,
Are found kneeling for survival.

“Hosannah” is the battle cry,
Not vengeance but request,
That God himself would save us-
He alone ease our distress.

We do not march with fear,
But with holy recognition,
That without his saving grace,
Ours is a hopeless condition.

He climbed the hill stripped naked,
Spat on and disgraced.
He gasped for breath and whispered
On his murderers, God’s grace.

All man considered holy,
Was finally exposed,
As fruitless acts of godlessness-
Stem of thorns without a rose.

Unprepared in a borrowed tomb,
His body lay in death.
Scattered were those close to him,
Confined to sabbath rest.

How could one rest without him?
Impossible endeavor.
Uncertain of the past,
And uncertain of forever.

“Hosannah” in her rising.
“Hosannah” in her care.
She gathered what she needed.
For death she was prepared.

Her heart already broken,
She clung to what she knew.
The air escaped her grieving lungs,
“Hosanna! Where are you?”

“Alive” was her answer.
The lips of angels reached her.
The start of something beautiful,
This world’s first Christian preacher.

This truth brought hope and fear,
It was Jesus that she needed.
Overwhelmed she wept until,
“Mary,” her King greeted. 

This tomb was meant for death.
This garden marked with sadness.
But God restores the shattered,
And gives us hope of gladness. 

If you are entering this Easter
Carrying burial preparations,
Certain evils can’t be changed,
No faith in restoration-

Set down your baskets and behold,
Christ, on whom you can rely.
He greets, by name, the mourning,
Feasting with those whose lips deny.

“Hosanna!” We are here.
We’re blessed because you hear us.
Though evil tempts with worldly gain,
We’ll chose to have you near us. 

Rejoice for he is Risen! 
Our King is risen indeed. 
His Spirit expanding his Kingdom,
Through those still in great need.

He will meet you when you seek him,
His expectations gracious.
His table has a place for you,
For the desperate, seats are spacious.

 


We are Easter People. The Kingdom of those reborn by the resurrection. 

Gather your people.

Raise your glasses. 

The Toasts of Easter Feaster

(Based on the 4 cups of the Passover Meal.)


The first toast is the toast of Sanctification. Now is a time to raise your glass and share a way you have been sanctified this year. Do you feel set apart by God? How so? How has God assured you that he is still active in your life?


The second toast is the toast of Salvation. What have you been saved from? Maybe it's a bad habit or sin that you are no longer enslaved by. Maybe it's a toxic mindset that you have been freed from. Maybe God spared you from a consequence you deserved. Tell us, how has Jesus saved you?


The third toast is the toast of Redemption. God makes broken things beautiful and revives dry bones. What has God redeemed in your life this year? Did you have any truly terrible things made beautiful by the presence of the Creator? What has been turned around in your life this year? What has been mended?


The fourth toast is the toast of Hope and Restoration. This is the toast of Kingdom still to come. We raise our glasses and say, "I believe God will make all things new, and once again, mankind and God will walk together in the garden." Proclaim your hopeful expectations. What do you long for that you know will come to pass when Jesus returns?

In a final toast, raise your glasses all together and say, "We praise you, Jesus. You are our King, our Savior, our Redeemer, and our God. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come. Hallelujah!"
 

Thursday: Study Joy

My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
For he has looked on the 
humble estate of his servant. 
For behold, from now on all generations
Will call me blessed; 
For he who is mighty has done
Great things for me,
And holy is his name.
— Luke 1:46-49

Oh Mary and her eternal perspective. 

Her song of praise, sung in the privacy of her elderly cousin's home, sends shivers down my spine. These words are not a result of rehearsing, or camera-ready tips given her. They display a heart rejoicing in genuine praise. I have no doubt that in her life, thoughts like these came in waves. She had so much to navigate. The ridicule she received must have been overwhelming at times- seen as a disgrace, a sinner, her worth in society bankrupt.

What is true today was true then: we are much more likely to believe the lies of the powerful than the truth from the powerless. Mary was powerless in the eyes of now nameless religious men. But God made Mary’s story great. She held in her heart the truth that God saw her and chose her, even if no one believed her. He established a future for her that would long surpass the piety of those who deemed her worthless. 

Faith produces joy.

Mary experienced the joy of her promised future because she genuinely believed it. That is faith: assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1) While God’s calling in her life would bring her down a path of suffering, her spirit rejoiced in God her Savior because she had faith that he would follow through on his promises.

Do you really believe that Jesus came to save you even though the road ahead seems dangerous? Do you believe that if you follow him to the cross that you will follow him in his resurrection? In his inheritance? 

Jesus, the Light of the World, is our source of joy. We, like Mary, can choose to rejoice in God our Savior, rather than wallow in the world’s assesment of our worth. Christmas is a great time to be “bombarded” with the call to rejoice, because it is a season to remember that God looked upon our humble estate, and gave our lives meaning. For generations and generations we will be called “blessed” because God, in his great love, chose us as worthy. He came to live in our story (birth, worthlessness, death) so that we might live in his story (rebirth, importance, eternal life). Jesus changed our forecast from stormclouds of destruction, to the warmth and brightness of the sun. While that joy is not fully realized, if you have faith that he will do as he has said, you can experience the joy he offers now.

As we approach this Sunday, a day set aside to thank Jesus for turning our sorrow into joy, reflect on his promises.

Write down the promises you long for most (not a personal wishlist, but promises made by God) and repent of your unbelief.

And his mercy is for those who fear him
From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
He has scattered the proud in the
Thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
And exalted those of humble estate;
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
In remembrance of his mercy,
As he spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his offspring forever.
— Luke 1:50-55