A case for hurry

You know what they say.

You’ve probably heard them yourself, and you know what they say.

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Look at Jesus, they say. He was never in haste, and never late for an appointment. Let Him be your model. His people should be calm and unhurried.

They are full of it, I say.

Well, alright. In light of the present age, with its busyness-as-personal-worth measuring stick, they may be offering a valid pushback. Although Jesus did a lot of things His people don’t achieve… I haven’t had anyone haggling me because I can’t walk across a lake in a storm, or heal paralysis by touch.

If Jesus was never in a hurry (which I am not convinced of, to be really honest with you), it’s because he was God, and God does not miss His own appointments. But Scripture is full of stories in which holy people rushed around to join Him at His chosen times and places.

Look. You have…

A 99-year-old Abraham hustling to tell Sarah of angelic visitors, then running to fetch a tender calf for their dinner

Angels rushing Lot out of the city

Rebekah hurrying to water Eliezer’s camels

The Israelites scarfing down the first Passover meal, per God’s commandment

Moses hurrying to worship

Holy armies hastening to war

David running toward his giant

Abigail hurrying to fend off the attack of armed and dangerous men

The kings of Babylon jumping to witness the work of God

Mary hurrying to see Elisabeth

The shepherds dashing to the manger to worship the Baby

Zacchaeus launching out of his tree

and Paul hurrying to celebrate Pentecost in Jerusalem.

There are even a few Old Testament references to God hastening His plans to fruition at the right time.

If you want to tell me that the lives of Jesus’ followers should not be characterized by agitation and constant rush, you have a point worth making. If you want to say we’re rushing for the wrong things, or that proper planning can save last minute scrambling, I’m on board. If you want to say that listening to the Holy Spirit can quiet our hearts and supernaturally prepare us for things to come, I couldn’t agree more.

But we are human. We usually cannot see the future, we make mistakes, and we struggle to stay ahead of our tasks. “Christians should always be unhurried” is awfully close to “Christians should always be comfortable” which is awfully close to straight-up heresy.

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Sometimes we are capable of far more than we think, if we’re willing to put up with a little rush and chaos. Sometimes the unexpected arrives on our doorstep, and we hustle to make it work.

We hurry to join God in the places He wants us.
It’s time we stopped feeling guilty for it.

Easter celebrations 2016

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When I began blogging four years ago, one of my first questions for you old-timers who were there was—How do you celebrate Easter?

In my experience it is the almost-missed Christian holiday in the Mennonite church. All sorts of treats and traditions have grown up around our Christmases, including non-overtly-spiritual traditions like homemade candy, piles of presents, and sledding parties. But somehow Easter…

Hmm. Easter. Let me think.
There’s an early service at church, and um…
Let me think…

Four years ago, I wanted to find ways to build excitement, anticipation, and joy into this best of holidays. Since then, we’ve found delight in trying new ideas as a family and seeing what works for us. Some years we’ve travelled. Some years we’ve hosted Easter egg hunts for children, with slices of layer cake for the adults.

This year we reinstated some favorite traditions, and started some new ones I predict will be keepers. I know I’m a month late. But I’d like to share our most meaningful with you, to tuck in your brain file for next year…

1. Resurrection eggs

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Did you know it’s very simple to make your own set of resurrection eggs?

You fill a dozen hollow egg shells with symbolic items to tell the story of Jesus’ final week. Your child opens one a day, and reads the accompanying passage of Scripture. We tweaked ours to include a few extras, combining ideas from this site and this site with a few of our own. (There are even printable Scripture cards here.)

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My favorite bit was our tiny crown of thorns.

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2. A mercy garden

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I am about five years behind on this one. I understand Ann Voskamp created or popularized the idea some time ago, but this was the first year I joined in with my five-year-old daughter. We found it surprisingly meaningful, to dig real earth and arrange real stones and know that his body rested in THIS. Our tiny tomb was chilling, and beautiful. We put a candle in it.

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3. A Passover meal

I’ve always wanted to attend a Passover meal; this year, I did a little research and hosted one for our children on Thursday night, the evening Jesus shared Passover with his disciples before his death. The Zook family did not go kosher. I got a headache just reading the regulations, and in the end I said “All things are lawful unto me” and served normal food, picking and choosing which symbols to keep and which to omit.

We ate roasted leg of lamb and unleavened bread and bitter herbs and haroset.

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This is not a good shot, but I was a little too busy being there to also be a great photographer.

Since our children are young and squirmy, we didn’t get to do the readings I was hoping. We were in this for the food alone. But there is always next year…

4. Good Friday singing

In our community, a Friday evening church service is not a thing. This year, my parents invited us to a beautiful new tradition—meeting in their home with a few friends to sing. We sang by candlelight, songs of the suffering of Christ interspersed with Scripture readings. When the music was done, we blew out our candles and left in silence.

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5. Time in a graveyard

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Photo credit: Ryan Zook

Maybe this one sounds macabre—but did you know that Jesus actually died? Saturday night, Ryan and I took our family to a much-beloved and beautiful graveyard. The children played while we sat and talked, then Ryan read aloud the story of Jesus’ death. Then we went out and bought ice cream. There is no symbolism in ice cream that I can find, but it is sweet to share with your family.

And Sunday?

Waking in the darkness to hurry our family to church. Coffee and donuts. An early praise service. Songs from little children. Brunch shared with our congregation. Naps at home. Chocolates. A delicious evening dinner with extended family.

I think it was the best Easter I’ve ever had.

Now it’s your turn to add to my files for next year… How did you celebrate? What traditions have you passed down or begun?

Silence

I am experiencing the technical difficulties always attendant on reentry into cyberspace. We had to switch email servers and have some bugs to work out. If you are not receiving email notifications of new posts, hang tight… the Boss is working on it. He tells me it will help him if I keep posting. {Insert eye roll here.}

In obedience to him and to the Holy Spirit
{I think I am mocking but I am not blaspheming},
here is a thought that made it to paper in the months of—


Sometimes I think I am the only one with more questions than answers and

I wonder how it feels to be sure of things Continue reading

Go

“Your audience awaits,” he said. “Go.”

I am a good wife and always do just what he says, and so—

Five weeks later, he showed up on my Why I Blog page and said, “If you let this go much longer, you’ll have to change the title to Why I Don’t Blog. I’m waiting…”

The sky is blue in Meadville, PA and the tulips, the long-suffering often-frozen thoroughly-confused tulips, are thinking of blooming. Perennial herbs are raising their curly heads from the beds into which I tucked them, and blinking off the sleep and the darkness. Continue reading

Baby

Done with the ponderous, the swollen, the out of breath, I

Endure the aching groaning shriek of my body as it brings

Life into a fallen world. A child is born this day.

I have never seen anyone so perfect. Her

Velvet skin shines with the light of a world I’ve seen only in dreams, her wail is an

Echo of the holy child on His arrival here.

Reaching to touch, to hold, to worship, my body and heart are healed,

Yet the sword of our shared humanity, our loss, our love pierces my heart.


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Introducing our daughter, Jenny Madelynn, born early this morning at 7 lb. 7 oz. We are overjoyed.

I will be spending my time being Mommy, and see you sometime in the New Year…