Once more to new creation Awake,
okay. So far on our we have the heavenly Father…. we have Family….what else…? hmmmm
Josiah said we “were getting piggy with the ham”. We had a tossed salad and fresh strawberries there, to put in a healthy appearance, but the big stars were green bean casserole (Claudia loves me) ham gravy, and buttery rolls. I made my first carrot cake and it turned out pretty good…but then I could put my cream cheese frosting on a brick and John would moan, “oh honey, this is delicious.” Would you like the recipe? 19 years. Know it by heart. and it’s so decadent that just typing it out, I will gain 3 lbs… A cube of soft butter, a block of soft cream cheese, 2 t. vanilla and 4 cups of powdered sugar. Beat until it’s fluffy and spread on whatever you have handy. Graham crackers are John’s favorite, but seriously. you could use a brick. cardboard. whatever you have laying around.
This was the first year I didn’t do Easter baskets for the kids, or resurrection cookies or the usual traditions. They had a chocolate cross, and Grandma bought Peeps (they are gluten free!) but this year John and I realized our boys were past the milk stage, and ready for some meat.
On Good Friday we gathered the kids together and we all watched The Passion dvd, and it was hard. I had only seen it once but it had such an effect that I had a stomachache all Friday, just knowing what we were about to see. During the flogging scene, my tough 11.5 year old Sam climbed up in my lap. He put his lanky arms around my neck and cried quietly, with me. That was when I felt we had made the right choice. The movie is pretty gruesome, and we really debated on letting the boys see it, but they’ve seen Lord of the Rings (and Orcs and that Smeagol are far more disgusting!) This bloody visual at least has a purpose. To get us past the tidy clean view we have of the Cross, and remind us of what our salvation actually cost Him.
After we watched it we gathered around the coffee table and talked about what we’d seen. We reminded the boys that this faith isn’t something they get automatically from Mom and Dad. The same way we can’t eat their food in order to make them strong, the choice to “take in Jesus” and grow, was theirs. John served each of us communion and the saltine cracker and Welch’s grape juice were transformed into a reminder that we can partake of His sacrifice and grow. Or we can neglect His provision and wither away, weaker by the day. But each of us chooses, for himself. And God, in His goodness, never takes away that free will. He asks…Do you want life? It’s yours, free for the taking. And if you don’t choose the Way, the Truth and the Life? Then, by default, you are choosing death. And God, in the end, will give you just what you chose.
I looked at our sons, gathered quietly, the candlelight reflecting off their somber faces. I could see they understood, that their young hearts were mulling over these truths. It hit me that the growth of a life is not only obvious in bigger shoes, and fresh marks on the living room wall. There is a kind of growing up that even this clinging Mama doesn’t grieve over. I see this dark world, full of men who are still weak, still children..passive, shifting, undisciplined. We want more for our sons. We want them to be men. Strong of heart, sound of mind, unflinching in faith. But that type of growth is quieter, less obvious-it seems to come in fits and starts, untrackable with a measuring tape. Though Friday, I looked around the room and saw it there, simmering…
True maturity comes in the silent stretching of the carnal heart.
When our selfish mind tries to wrap itself around the unfathomable selflessness of such a gift as that gruesome, bloody cross.