Changing the Filter

 

 

“Resentment is drinking poison and waiting for the other person to get sick.”

I don’t know who said this originally.  I just know it’s true.  Resentment eats you up on the inside.  It damages relationships.  It puts a filter over everything that you see.  It’s like the filters that you put on your pictures: mono, vivid, silver-tone, dramatic cool or noir.

A bad filter can make a picture worse.

A good filter can take a so-so picture and turn it into something far better than the original.  Take the picture from yesterday’s post.  Add a little “noir” filter with a little more brightness and voilà!  a better picture!

My problem?   I don’t always know how to change the filter.  Sometimes it’s rather easy. Forgive and move on.  Sometimes you can’t do it so fast.  It eats at you and starts to wear you down.  It can make us see every fault, every fallacy, and every action as a deliberate attempt to hurt us.  Resentment can ruin us.

Henri Nouwen wrote in his book on spiritual formation:   “When you cling to your complaints, your heart is full of resentment, and there is no room for God to enter and set you free.  Resentment curtails the movements of the Spirit and diminishes the kingdom within. It replaces faith, hope and charity with fear, doubt, and rivalry.” *

Maybe we change our filter by seeing with the eyes of Jesus.  Maybe it’s every time that I think of _____________ (fill in person, situation, action), I also see the face of Jesus.  Maybe our filter needs to be Jesus beside, behind, in front of ________________.

Maybe everything we see needs to be in the filter of “grace and forgiveness of God”.

It might be hard to change the filter all at once – forever.  Maybe it’s every day to change the filter just a little more in the light of the grace of God.

I may not be able to change _______________ (fill in the blank) but I can ask God to change me.

Change my filter, O God. Help me see with Your eyes of grace and forgiveness. Amen.

 _______________________

* Nouwen, Henri. Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit. Harper One, Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust with Michael J. Christensen and Rebecca J. Laird, 2010, p. 59.

The Day After

It’s the day after.

The day after the tags have been taken off the new clothes or the old spring clothes pulled from the back of the closet to be worn on Easter morning

The day after the baskets have been picked through and the egg hunts completed

The day after the hallelujahs have been sung

The day after the responsive greeting has been exchanged in worship:    “Christ the Lord is risen!  He is risen indeed!”

It’s the day after Easter.

Has anything changed? Has anything changed in the way we live?  The way we speak to one another?  The way we look at the world and the people around us?

Has the new life – resurrection life – of Easter touched us in a way that we are changed?

Has anything changed? YES – Everything!

We now live in the light of the Resurrection – on the other side of the empty tomb. We don’t take trips to the Holy Land to view the sealed tomb of our Savior. We walk into an empty tomb. No old bones to revere. No words craved on a tombstone. Only an empty chamber.

As the hymn declares, “every day to us is Easter with its resurrection song” *.   We now live as Easter people.

Frederick Buechner said it well: “Resurrection means that the worst thing is never the last thing.”

It’s the day after . . . and everything has changed.

Christ the Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!

__________________________

* “Easter People, Raise Your Voices” – Hymn #304, United Methodist Hymnal, Words by William M. James, 1979. Music by Henry T. Smart, 1867.

The Great ‘I Told You So’!

No one likes to hear “I told you so . . .”

Whether it’s the “suggested” route to some address that is either correct or incorrect or the outcome of the Super Bowl – no one likes to hear “I told you so!”

Unless . . . you’re talking about the Resurrection. Today is the day that we hear loud and clear from the empty tomb the proclamation of Christ: “I told you so!”

Good Friday is the day that the ‘sun refused to shine’, the day that the One to ‘save all history’ was killed, the day that the world as the disciples knew it fell apart.

Holy Saturday is the in-between day. It’s the day that the disciples wondered “what do we do now?”

and Resurrection Sunday is the day that sorrow is turned into joy, mourning is turned into dance. It’s a new day!

and I’m so thankful that I hear the words “I told you so!”

Christ the Lord is risen. He is risen indeed!

The In-Between Day

It’s the in-between day. The day between death and resurrection.

The disciples don’t know it’s the in-between day. They just think “it’s over – the One that we thought would save us is crucified.”

The disciples have placed Jesus, their Savior, in a tomb. Now they’ve gone home with heads hung low, tears in their eyes, shoulders drooped, leaning on others for support.

The women have seen the tomb – where Jesus was laid.  Friday has been the Day of Preparation so they have gone home to prepare – for the Sabbath and for a return visit to the tomb on the first day of the week. When the women return, they will anoint the dead body of Jesus.

Hope . . . gone.

The very people who condemned Jesus to death have a faint memory of the promise made by the “imposter”: ‘After three days I will rise again.’

“Secure the tomb, Pilate. The disciples might steal the dead body and say he’s resurrected. Then the last deception would be worse than the first.”

Soldiers seal the grave and stand guard.

The Sabbath comes. The disciples rest, believing that the world as they’ve known it for the past 3 years is over.

On this side of the resurrection, we know that Holy Saturday is the in-between day – the day between death and new life. We know it’s NOT over.

We live so many of our days as in-between days. We believe in the resurrection. We know that Jesus is alive but it just feels like the in-between goes on forever.   The unexpected has happened, devastating our world. The diagnosis comes out of nowhere, the job is gone, security is rocked . . . everything changes. Sometimes it’s the big stone that seals the tomb of our pain and loss. Sometimes it’s just the little rocks of disappointment and heartache that cover our path.

We just need to hold on. It’s an in-between day. The rock will be rolled away. There is the faint whisper of the promise made by our Savior . . . “I will rise again . . .”

Hope is not gone.