A Blast from the Past

This devotion was prepared by Vision Board member Keri Olson.

I just watched the 40th Anniversary of Saturday Night Live.  It was a blast from my past and made me smile from ear to ear.  But it also made me realize that all those performers of my youth were getting really old. And if they were getting old then by default I must be too.

Make no mistake, I am clear on my age.  But for the most part I see my family, friends and acquaintances often enough that general aging is incremental. When you go back to the beginning and then jump forward 40 years, it’s a little shocking. A bit like running into friends and their children at the mall when you haven’t seen the kids for years; it’s as though they instantly went from toddlers to teens.

Experiencing the SNL oldsters (Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murry, Jane Curtain, etc) from their youthful comic genius to now seasoned dramatic veterans gave me an entertaining yet powerful view of our mortality.

I distinctly remember the first time I was truly aware that I would not live forever.  Shortly after our son Cameron was born, I had an epiphany. I realized that if something happened to me, if I died, it would matter.  Really matter.  In a joyous time those were heavy thoughts so I put them aside and went on living without fear of dying, because to live in fear would have denied how wonderful this new life and motherhood was.  And yet here I am again, from a completely different impetus, recognizing my mortality.

The timing of the anniversary show couldn’t have been better.  Coming just before the start of Lent it pushed me to thinking about the fullness of life; it has a beginning, middle and an end.  Years ago my thoughts on what to do with my life were framed by big ideas, plans and goals.  I still have a few of those, but my focus on how I want to live the rest of the “middle” of my life has softened.  I’m going to make a real effort to be more intentional in all I do, to be really present and in tune to other’s needs and less on my own.  That will take some doing.

On Ash Wednesday we were reminded through scripture “Remember, man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.”  It refers to our making and our finality, leaving the middle to us.  And I guess until we are finally dust we are in the middle, challenged to live without fear of dying, knowing that Christ did the heavy lifting for us.

Great and gracious God, thank you for using all the tools available to you, to get to us, even SNL.  You are truly everywhere and in everything.  Guide us in the middle of our lives to seek you in all things. Amen

Ash Wednesday: Grace Ribbons

Hey Easter Praise! readers,

Today is Ash Wednesday and hopefully you are making your way over to church sometime today to pray with others in our faith community. (See schedule at www.easter.org.)

Lent 2015--what does God desire - CopyLent is simply a word that means “springtime.” I think it’s safe to say that many of us in northern areas grow weary at the end of the winter with the drab skies, wearing heavy clothes, and icky looking March snow-on-the-ground.

Christians who lived centuries ago may have also been running out of food (no frozen or canned foods back then) or heat (firewood) by the end of winter. Their animals may have died from the extreme cold (no meat or milk if all animals died).

In our souls, we also long for something more. While it’s true we have been saved by faith in Christ, there’s always more to learn as a follower of Jesus, more ways we can serve others, more ways to conform our lives to Christ. Through the ups and downs of life, the Holy Spirit showers grace upon us, to draw us ever-closer into deeper communion with Christ and each other.

Speaking of grace, have you seen Pastor Kris’ new blog post about Ash Wednesday and the ribbon of grace running through our entire lives?  I suggest you take a look at her blog I’m Into Grace.

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May the good Lord bless you as we prepare for 40 days to celebrate the awesome wonder of Christ’s Resurrection.