Hallelujah

hallelujah-music

Easter is my favorite day of the year. For me, it is better than Christmas…as it should be.

Yesterday, my church closed out the glorious Easter service with Handel’s Hallelujah chorus from his fantastic oratorio “Messiah”. What is interesting about this musical piece is Handel’s unrelenting fervor in composing this masterpiece. Handel was nearly broke, old, a stroke survivor and out of favor with the musical community. This did not discourage him. Handel assembled something wonderful which became a classic that lives on in the hearts and minds of people everywhere. It is quite simple magnificent.

It is said that after Handel completed the Hallelujah chorus, his assistant found him in tears saying “I did think I saw heaven open, and saw the very face of God”. (http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/bibleandculture/author/bwitherington/) Handel’s wild hair flying about his face and the tears in his eyes were the foreshadowing of a song that would make even King’s stand in awe.

That’s Easter. It’s beyond our ability to put into words really. It’s so outrageous and so divine that to reduce down to mere words is almost impossible.

Music lifts the soul and is a promised part of heaven. Something tells me that the Hallelujah chorus is just the beginning.

He is Risen.

He is Risen Indeed…Hallelujah.

And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: Revelation 14:2,3

Lent 3 – Are you Fit?

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I am very competitive. I just can’t help myself.

Recently, my husband purchased a FitBit for me which is an instrument worn on the wrist, like a bracelet, that tracks your steps per day. It did not take me long to get hooked on this nifty device.

Even more rewarding was learning that many of my friends regularly compete in daily, weekly and monthly contests to see who walks the most and is therefore celebrated as a winner. This new “toy” was tailor-made for me

What is it about us that we need to compete? It’s not all bad, but it can be. When the mother of the sons of Zebedee approaches Jesus, she makes a ridiculous request. She asks that her sons be given the right to sit at the left and right sides of Jesus in glory, It doesn’t take long for Jesus to rebuke her. “…whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave” (Matt. 20:27). I don’t think Jesus can be more clear on this point.

Today I watched a young father comfort his son who had just participated in a losing softball game. It’s a hard lesson in life that we can’t always be winners and in fact, we are more often losers given the standards of this world. But for me, that young father got it right when he taught his young boy that there is simply glory in living to fight another day while giving your best effort for what is right.

During this season of Lent, it’s good to remember that competition is not what matters. What matters is remembering the ultimate prize and that is a lifetime spent in the presence of the Lord. It doesn’t get better than that.

Falling Back…

home-top-photo-st-marg-church_22I love fall. Just as I watch the sky darken, the leaves change into a variety of majestic colors and the earth prepare for frost, fall signals a time of reflection for the past year and an awareness of the coming Advent season.

In short, fall is my favorite time of the year.

Each Fall I travel to the Blue Ridge and I return to the beautiful mountaintop church where my daughter was married. It was the last time my entire family was together before losing my Mom to cancer. I take a moment to go inside and sit on the very pew I shared with my parents and thank God for loving memories. My favorite is when Dad held my hand as my daughter walked down the aisle to meet her groom. Dad gave me a gentle squeeze as he asked me if I was OK. It was a loving gesture and so typical of my Father.

When I sit in that pew, I can still feel his presence although Dad has since joined Mom and gone home to glory. It’s a great memory of a happy time. If my earthly father was so amazing, how much more wonderful will it be to meet my heavenly Father?

As the air turns crisp and the leaves begin to glide down to the ground, I am reminded of my continual growth and change as I work toward a more mature faith. There is so much sin to release and so much good to reflect upon. God’s grace is sufficient and He guides me like a falling leaf and catches me safely in His arms.

For another season, I soar in His love and I look forward for what is yet to come.

Can I wear heels in heaven?

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I have been thinking about heaven a great deal recently. I find that it is a subject that never bores me and for which I am deeply curious.

So many people have theories on what heaven is like. Writers, theologians and just regular people all have some concept of heaven including how the angels will sound, and when we will meet Jesus. The dimensions of those pearly gates, St. Peter, our loved ones, a book filled with names…so many possibilities. I truly find it so intriguing and illuminating to hear people speak of this mystery.

I have heard writers hope that their version of heaven is like one large Barnes & Noble with comfy chairs, classical music and books galore. Others want heaven to be a golf course. Some hope to wear their high heels. Streets of gold? Lambs book of life? It’s all possible.

But I have my doubts (about the heels of course).

I do know this. I want to go to heaven. I don’t care what it looks like, sounds like, smells like or who I see. I want to walk with Jesus and have him call my name. I want to be told “Well done”, I want to thank Him for unending grace and outrageous love.

So, today, I press on for the prize and I live in the glow of knowledge that God loves us and waits for us. I look in the face of my grandchildren, I watch the birds soar, the rainbows appear and the feel of a loved one’s embrace…and I see heaven. It’s all a brief glimpse of glory for me. It’s that intangible perfect peace and love that can only be gifted by God.

Heaven is for real. This I know.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

I’m walking on sunshine

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I don’t know what heaven looks like and I wouldn’t even venture a guess. The Bible gives us some idea, but really…I think it will be more awe-inspiring than any written word can accurately describe. It is simply beyond our human ability to comprehend.

Today I had a rare opportunity to spend some quiet time of reflection while gazing at the ocean. In my heaven, time and tide will be no more with the never-ending calm of perfect heavenly creation. We will gaze at beautiful things and beloved loved ones who are bathed with the glow of glory and grace.

The ocean calls to me as the waves and the tides work together to create a melodious harmony of sound that calms the senses and soothes the weary soul. For a bliss-filled moment, I’m in heaven…

…and I’m happy. I am filled with a sense of peace. I’m walking on sunshine.

So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:21

She took the party with her…

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Creativity inspires me. Specifically, I love to collect various kinds of art. I have old traditional paintings, folk art paintings and sculptures in my home. 

One of my favorite sculptures is called “She took the party with her” and I just love this particular piece. It’s a lady with her hair wildly circling her head and she’s wide eyed and happy. She is in full-on celebration mode. To be honest, it is exactly how I feel. Some would say it is exactly how I look.

When I think about what I want on my headstone…I think those words would be perfect. I’m not a sour Christian. I’m a happy, glorious, in-your-face kinda Christian. Life is joy and life with Christ is something to celebrate.

When I crossover into glory, I hope to have my party shoes on with a heart that is ready to rejoice. Can it get any better than that? I think not.

Let’s party!

Is there a car line in heaven?

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I don’t mean to be irreverent but it struck me yesterday after waiting in line for various things (groceries, school pick-up, post office) that there might be a line to get into heaven.

If we were honest, we ALL want a guaranteed spot in heaven, but there are so MANY of us who want the same thing. After all this time in my earthly home, it just struck me funny that there might be a wait to get in. It’s probably not funny in truth.

I hope it is not a long wait.

I’m anxious to see Jesus. I’m anxious to see family. I’m not into delayed gratification. Is that selfish? I can wait my turn but I’m not big on waiting.

But maybe, just maybe, this life is our earthly wait to see Jesus. Maybe we are already in “line” for the King.

It’s what we do while we wait that makes the difference.

Deacon’s first birthday

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Whenever I see a baby, the first thing that comes to my mind is that babies must smell like heaven.

A new baby is validation that this life holds promise and that earthly things can sometimes be too sweet for words.

My grandson turned one today and the past year seems like a blur. Deacon is a gift from God and he will grow up to learn about God’s everlasting love. His parents and both grandparents will work hard to encourage his personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  

I think back to Mary and the promised birth of the Messiah. She knew the end at the beginning and yet she had a moment of pure joy when the star glowed brightly, angels rejoiced and her beloved son was sought after and worshiped by wise men. The promise of greatness was present at His birth and remains so to this day. Immanuel, God with us.  

I’m grateful to God who gives us these precious blessings and graces us with moments that last a lifetime. A sweet baby born one year ago holds great promise for our family. We are overjoyed.

Babies do smell like heaven. I’m sure of it.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5