Every day we read about more violence in the Mideast. Everyone seems to hate everyone else. In spite of decades of negotiations, cease-fires, and truces, the battle continues. Palestinians, Jews, Arabs, Christians. Can they live in peace? It seems that no matter what we do, the problem is unsolvable. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem, but do we really expect an answer?
Pete and I enjoyed a real treat this week—getting to sit down with some long-time friends to hear what God has them doing now. Bob and Kathryn Carlton are the kind of people that you can’t resist. Meet them for the first time and an hour later you’re best friends. Perhaps that’s because no matter where they go, they fall in love with people. Put them in Tibet, and they love the Tibetans. Put them in Burkina Faso, and they love the people there. That kind of love is irresistible!
What are your core beliefs? If someone asked you to explain what you’re all about—the central convictions that define who you are, what would you tell them?
Our adult Sunday school class was talking about different world views. The speaker explained that as Christians, our world view differs from Muslims, Hindus, humanists, atheists, etc. Then he asked us to list five things we absolutely believe to be true about our faith. He claimed that most people would have trouble making such a list. Of course, with a challenge like that, I pulled out paper and started writing. The more I wrote, the more items I thought of. I soon realized that if I wanted to pay attention in class, I’d have to finish my list at home.
Later that evening I was still working on my list. (I’m kind of one-track like that.) As I finally ran out of Truths I was sure about, I realized that there were still a lot of truths (small “t”) that I believed but knew I could be wrong about. So, I made a list of those, too.
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.