It’s the day after Resurrection Sunday. Is it just a day to head to Walgreens and buy some discounted Easter candy? (Jelly beans taste even better when they’re 60% off.)

The Christian calendar proclaims the resurrection in a far different manner. The centerpiece of the message proclaimed by Jesus’ first followers was simple: Jesus had risen from the dead. Temporal time and eternity met in the person of the risen Messiah at the empty tomb.

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. (Matthew 28:6)

In the beginning, the followers of Jesus met daily. Organically, these ad hoc gatherings took on a shape of their own as believers gathered on the first day of the week – the day on which the Resurrection occurred – to worship, share communion, learn together, and encourage one another. But the linkage between yearly Passover observance and the events leading to Jesus’ death and resurrection called forth a different kind of remembrance among the majority-Jewish early church. God had linked Passover and Resurrection Day, just as he had Shavuot and Pentecost. The first Christian communities began creating their own yearly ritual around the story of Passover deliverance fulfilled in the finished work of the Messiah. [Read more]

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I’ve spent a lot of time pondering the topic of regret. I’ve written a book about regret.I’ve written lots of blog posts on the subject. I speak on the topic. My message is always the same: God can redeem and repurpose every one of our regrets.

As a result, here’s a question no one has ever asked me: Is there a regret God can’t redeem?

Scripture tells us there is one man who allowed sin, then regret to come between him and the love of the best friend he ever had. He’s a key player in the story of Holy Week, and his story has something important to say to those of us who suspect that our regrets might be too big, too unspeakably awful for God to forgive, much less to redeem. [Read more]

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The Church year has a sweeping rhythm to its seasons: Advent moves into Christmastide, then Lent. But in the days leading to Good Friday the rhythm slows; it’s the sound of a ticking clock in an empty room. Every tick, eternity in 60 seconds.

This week, the calendar invites followers of Jesus to trace his footsteps into Jerusalem to the tick of the clock. Each day of Holy Week brings us into this journey in the here and now. It moves us from our hazy 2,000 years’-distant vantage point into the crowd that welcomed Jesus with palm branches and cheers to the Holy City, and won’t let us leave until we track in the darkness behind the women carrying spices to prepare his body for burial the following Sunday. [Read more]

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Mar

29

2016

Welcome To Post-Adulthood

This recent Washington Post article highlights an idea foreign to the majority of us living in Western culture. Dr. Bill Thomas contends, “…there is a ‘third’ phase of life beyond adulthood that can be as rich as either of the phases that came before.” This idea has implications for the church – if only we have ears to hear.

For those interested in nurturing spiritual growth and development throughout every phase of life, and some of those who work with aging populations, these words are more affirmation than revelation. But since too many see old age (mid-sixties and up, with a hazy division between “young-old” and “old-old” hitting at about seventy-five) as a slow, Depends-dependent slide toward decay and death. Dr. Thomas sees it differently:

For the past two years, he has traveled the country on a mission to raise public consciousness — strumming a guitar and presenting a stage show that touts a “post-adulthood” period when age and experience are associated with enrichment rather than decrepitude.  

He believes that his generation, which reinvented what it means to be young, should now be reinventing what it means to grow old. “We need to get people out of hospitals, we need to create a rich set of community-based alternatives.” In essence, he argues, the goal is “normalizing the entire lifespan instead of separating and stigmatizing one part as something different.”

Instead, he sees too many baby boomers clinging to tropes that no longer serve them.

“It’s very American language — ‘You’re as young as you feel, and I feel like I’m 22 years old.’ That’s not good, that’s not right . . . and the reason it’s wrong is it doesn’t allow you to be who you are.”

Too many churches have bought what our culture is selling when it comes to the way we approach aging. [Read more]

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Mar

29

2016

Unpacking Once More

Some of you have followed the account of our recent (mis)adventure of our most recent move via Facebook and Twitter. After more than 3-1/2 years in a quirky 1970’s townhome in a northwest suburb of Chicago, our landlord told us toward the end of January that we’d need to find a new place to live as the place was going to be sold. It wasn’t exactly a surprise, as there have probably been close to 40 showings of the property since late November. We learned that few people dig a mirrored wall in an almost-antique micro kitchen. We couldn’t blame the potential buyers. We wouldn’t buy the place either. However, I did give myself some laughs by pretending to host a cooking show every single day.

Thanks to the help of a realtor friend, we found a new place to rent in fairly quick order. [Read more]

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