He has Risen Indeed!

So this past weekend started with a solemn day of reflection, and meditation Friday.  It was an opportunity to look back on the ministry of Jesus, and the reason He was born into a humble life and put to death as a criminal.  He knew it was coming, and He prepared the way to equip and send out the 12 to shepherd others.  To know He came only to die, and wanted to take on all of our sins so we can have life everlasting in exchange for His life is the greatest sacrifice a parent could make for their children.  How many of us would willingly step into a situation we knew would end in humiliation, torture and an excruciating death?  What a gift!  Freely given so we may freely receive it!

The promise was fulfilled Sunday, and what a joy to celebrate our savior.  I was overwhelmed by the number of friends who shared the simple yet weighty greeting;
*He has risen!*
*He has risen indeed!*
Our day started early, though it wasn’t at the initial 330 wake-up, greeted by a sunrise and an Easter egg hunt filled with excitement.  My wife and I talk about the significance of the Resurrection with our girls, and at some level they get it, though right now it really is about the squeals of delight as they find hidden treats.  It’s a day of significance that continues to grow for me as I develop in my faith, and dig deeper into the gospels.  It’s no coincidence that this year as I was reading and meditating more on various passages leading up to the crucifixion, that I had the privilege of being an actor in the dramatic portion of our service (I take liberties with the title but I did have a dressing room).  Then I received my role.  A Pharisee…

I know I said there are no coincidence, but I couldn’t see it at the time.  I mean c’mon!  To play  one of those responsible for killing the perfecter of our faith on Easter Sunday?  I was then reminded as time wore on of a message delivered by a previous campus pastor when he talked about our own *Pharisaical tendencies*.  Those things we all do, intentional or not, that overlook our own *stuff* and call out others.

Matthew 7: 1-5  “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

I added this to my own self-reflection, am I  immune?  Quite honestly no, I’m not.  I do it, and I need reminders that it’s not my role to play judge.  When I do not only does it take me away from Jesus, it makes me a hypocrite.  I get caught up in telling other people what they ought to do, while not practicing those same things.  No shame or guilt, it’s a part of our human condition living in a world that’s temporary for us.  In recovery and as we develop in our faith-walk, we’re strengthened and gain knowledge and skills.  Knowledge and skills we attempt to apply every day.  We have streaks where life seems *easy*, and we’re there to support and encourage others.  Others see our expereince-strength-and hope in action, and consult us in times of need.  It can have the effect of developing these Pharisaical tendencies in us at times, though certainly not always.  Times when maybe, just maybe, we think we have the answers while others don’t.  The problem is, that means we believe we’re right and others are wrong.

Romans 12: 3  For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

Sober judgement.  Removing ourselves and our own biases.  Coming in humble, with a mind set on service.  Setting aside our own selfish intentions or ambitions, and coming in with an open mind.  When we’re not able to, those tendencies can cloud our judgement and even create false idols of ourselves.

It’s no coincidence I’ve been diving deeper than ever into the gospels.  It’s no coincidence I played the role of a Pharisee.  It’s no coincidence that all this is lining up as my wife and daughters leave for their spring break adventure.  I’ll be getting some quality time with my dog, maybe throwing myself into work a bit more and sticking with my plan.  This is the time for me to lean on others, lean into God and heed some of my previous advice/consul.  It’s also time for me to not always trust my judgement as *sober*.   If I do, and I can’t lean on the people in my life or on the tools I’ve developed I’m ignoring that *speck* in my own eye and engaging in those Pharisaical tendencies we’re all capable of.  In short, I’m no different than the role I played.

Grace, peace and love

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