Forty five days
Thursday, April 25, 2019
From Acts 3
The crippled man who had been cured clung to Peter and John.
How thankful can a person be!
At the beginning of Lent our pastor preached about gratitude. He likened our experience in the human family to members of a 12 step group, and suggested that we can choose right now to be grateful every day.
So as of now, I’m forty-five days grateful! And the man crippled from birth and healed, I hope his days of gratitude never stopped.
Other than a few days after Jesus was arrested, Peter always had something to say. He spoke now, as the crowd gathered in amazement to celebrate with their friend, walking for the first time in his life. Peter really laid into them:
You denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked that a murderer be released to you! The author of life, you put to death.
But God raised him from the dead.
There are many ways to look at this miracle. In the pre-Easter Austin Chronicle, I found a light-hearted take on Easter food events:
Whether you’re celebrating a certain someone’s reincarnation or just looking to get a little sloppy on a Sunday morning, we have a handful of Easter brunch offerings. Hit the carving station, sip a mimosa, and maybe lift your glasses to Jesus, if that’s your thing.
Then there’s G. K. Chesterton, quite often light-hearted but not about this:
(This is) the most monstrous, the most material, and therefore the most miraculous of miracles. It is specially connected with the most startling sort of dogma, which the Modernist can least accept; the Resurrection of the Body.
But my favorite comes from John Updike, and his Easter morning poem written early in his writing life for a local Lutheran church festival (it won first prize):
Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells' dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall …
Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.
Right now in Austin the rain is coming down in sheets. A few minutes ago lightning struck so close, it exploded. Thunder broke down the doors (so to speak); I was sitting outside and jumped up and ran indoors. I love storms. This one scared me for just a second, and then I remembered how grateful I am for this thunder and lightning that I can see.
And grateful that what I CAN see and hear and feel and almost taste … sends me back to feel the screams of fear on Golgotha as dark-sky thunder marked the moment Jesus passed. And to the path the Marys took at dawn, to the unheard sound as the stone was rolled away, to the sight of beings, bright and not quite human sitting by the cave, to the gentle footfall of the gardener.
No, that is not the gardener. This is Jesus. Magnetic, miraculous, marvelous Jesus, risen from the dead.
Every day I’m grateful. Every day we’re invited to walk with him through the door.
Lord God how thankful can a person be? Make me more and more and more. I want to be fruitful, and multiply and be a good steward of all that you have for me.
Austin Chronicle, April 19, 2019, p. 37
G. K. Chesterton, St. Thomas Aquinas, The Dumb Ox, Chapter 1, “On Two Friars,” p. 12, 1933
John Updike, “Seven Stanzas on Easter,” 1960