Stop. Pray. Listen.

Lilium longiflorum_Easter Lily_DBG-CO_LAH_4375

Today is Good Friday. If there was ever a time I want to spend with God, it would be today. This is the day when I want to post something deep and truly significant. Something that brings us into the presence of the Father. Something that points to Jesus, His sacrifice, His love.

Why then is that so hard?

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Invite a Friend

Pots of blooming bulbs greet me as I walk into Walmart. Last month’s heart-shaped boxes of chocolate have been replaced with jelly beans, pastel peeps, and chocolate rabbits. Displays at the end of the aisles feature stuffed bunnies and lambs. And at church, there’s the annual push to invite guests to the Easter service.

This year, Easter (aka “Resurrection Sunday”) falls on March 27. That’s only a couple of weeks away. If we are going to invite anyone to church, we’d better hop to it.

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Resurrection Sunday

Easter is my favorite day of the year—Resurrection Sunday, the reason for my faith in Jesus and my hope of heaven. While Christmas is buried under tons of tradition, Easter has escaped relatively unscathed. Perhaps that’s why I like it best.

Sure, Easter gets mingled with the renewal of springtime. When I was small, my secular parents observed this holiest of days with jelly beans and marshmallow peeps, a chocolate bunny and perhaps an Easter egg hunt. But there are still ways to focus on the significance of the resurrection. When I became a Christian at age 18, I started attending the sunrise service held on our college campus. I can still imagine every detail of the warm spring sunshine (it was California), green leaves, singing birds. We sat on the dew-covered grass and listened to a pastor from a local church praise God for the resurrection. And we sang:

Hear the bells ringing. They’re singing that you can be born again. Hear the bells ringing. They’re singing Christ is risen from the dead.

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Spring for an Easter Garden

Celebrate Easter. Celebrate spring. Sometimes it seems as if there’s a tension between the two. The stores advertise cute little lambs and chicks, jelly beans and hollow chocolate rabbits. Us more spiritual types prefer to concentrate on the resurrection.

Spring and Easter do not need to compete for our attention. Budding plants, baby animals—they should all remind us of the new life possible because Jesus died and rose again. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that the renewal of life and the resurrection of Jesus happened at the same time of year. (Of course, those living in the southern hemisphere miss out on this connection.)

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Risen Bread for the Risen Lord

There is one time of year that I make a point of baking bread… and not any bread will do. Given that we’re celebrating resurrection this Sunday, I like to make a yeast bread. It too shall rise!

Our traditional Easter bread is the Finnish cardamom loaf Pete’s family always made. It’s very good, and I posted the recipe last year.

However, we have a son-in-law who loves honey, almond flavoring, and coconut, so I went hunting for another bread to make in his honor. These Honey Almond Buns are amazing. Totally decadent. Too bad he lives so far away—and the buns do not ship well (you need to eat them warm from the oven!). On the other hand, that means there are more for us.

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