What separates Christians from the rest of the pack…

“Life [had] replaced logic.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

(a soon to bloom peony / Julie Cook /2018)

The image of the bloom used in today’s post is that of a peony.
I call this peony my resurrection plant because I bought it two summers ago, in July.
It was a very expensive plant.
Yet anyone living in the deep South knows you don’t sink a lot of money into a
plant, dig a hole in the hot dry ground, plop in said expensive plant and expect it to live…
especially in July and especially in a summer experiencing a full-blown drought.

I wrote about this plant last spring and the reason as to why I call it a resurrection plant—
of which you can read from the following link…
but that is not the true gist of today’s post


Today’s post is a reminder of what the Resurrection is all about…
and if you are a Chrisitan, it’s a reminder of what that exactly means to you.

The reminder rests in the fact that we’ve just celebrated Easter…

Easter being holiest celebration, besides the birth of Christ, within the Christian Chruch…
Some would argue that it is the sole holiest celebration…but I suppose we can’t have a
resurrection of our Savior without his immaculate conception and birth…
all of which supersedes the ability of man’s small mind to grasp and process…
hence so much of the consternation in mankind since that very first miraculous morning.

After watching the latest edition of Anglican Unscripted featuring our favorite
rouge Anglican Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Gavin Ashenden, I’ve come to realize that
there are many in our fold who really don’t know what they think about
the Ressurection…
And what is even more startling, many members of the clergy don’t quite
know what to make of it either…

In a nutshell, it is the what which separates Christianity from every other religion.

How in the world can you offer anyone, let alone speak of such things as
Hope, Salvation, Grace, if you can’t find the words to say that you believe, without
a doubt, in the Ressurection of Jesus?

You can’t.

Because the Resurrection is the defining key to our faith.
It is the impetus to faith…the belief in that which is a mystery, undefinable,
and greater than oneself.

Without the Resurrection,
Christianity is nothing… nor is it any different from a myriad of other belief systems.

C.S. Lewis explained this very point in 1950

I heard a man say,
“The importance of the Resurrection is that it gives evidence of survival,
evidence that the human personality survives death.”
On that view what happened to Christ would be what had always happened to all men,
the difference being that in Christ’s ease we were privileged to see it happening.
This is certainly not what the earliest Christian writers thought.
Something perfectly new in the history of the Universe had happened.
Christ had defeated death.
The door which had always been locked had for the very first time been forced open.
This is something quite distinct from mere ghost-survival.
I don’t mean that they disbelieved in ghost-survival.
On the contrary, they believed in it so firmly that, on more than one occasion,
Christ had had to assure them that He was not a ghost.
The point is that while believing in survival they yet regarded the Resurrection
as something totally different and new.
The Resurrection narratives are not a picture of survival after death;
they record how a totally new mode of being has arisen in the universe.
Something new had appeared in the universe:
as new as the first coming of organic life.
This Man, after death, does not get divided into “ghost” and “corpse”.
A new mode of being has arisen.
That is the story.
What are we going to make of it?
The question is, I suppose,
whether any hypothesis covers the facts so well as the Christian hypothesis.
That hypothesis is that God has come down into the created universe,
down to manhood—and come up again, pulling it up with Him.
The alternative hypothesis is not legend, nor exaggeration, nor the apparitions of a ghost.
It is either lunacy or lies.
Unless one can take the second alternative (and I can’t) one turns to the Christian theory.

C.S. Lewis,
“What Are We to Make of Jesus Christ?” (1950)

So if you claim to be a Chrisitan and yet find yourself unable to acknowledge the mystery
and the might behind the resurrection of Jesus Christ, you need to rethink your allegiance.
And if you are a member of the clergy and find the words and concept uncomfortable,
you need a new profession because the calling, was not for you….

Breath of Heaven


Mary’s Prayer (Breath of Heaven)

I have traveled many moonless nights
Cold and weary with a babe inside
And I wonder what I’ve done
Holy Father, You have come
And chosen me now to carry Your Son

I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now, be with me now

Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, Breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy
Breath of Heaven

Do you wonder as you watch my face
If a wiser one should have had my place?
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of Your plan
Help me be strong, help me be, help me

Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, Breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy

Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy
Breath of Heaven, Breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven

This is one of my favorite more modern sung prayers / hymns. The words do not do justice to the tone and inflection of the song–the sung version of a spoken prayer.
The melodic up, downs, starts, stops, trailing off. . .
It is an emotional prayer—
I cannot begin to imagine the humility and wonderment that must have flooded a young Mary as she is foretold of her now tremendous responsibly– so very overwhelming!
Pregnancy alone is a great responsibility, but for it to have taken place in such a miraculous, hidden and holy fashion is, for even many individuals today, most difficult to comprehend.

To say that Mary must have been scared is most likely putting it mildly.
We know Mary was young, most likely around 15 years old, an age when most modern day kids are just getting a learner’s license.
To be a parent at such a young age is most difficult, as I have had many a student who has borne such a burden—
But to do so alone, with no one but a young husband, in the middle of a strange town, with no shelter, no help, no mid wife, no money— all the while knowing that this child is more than merely your first child with a man whom you just recently married–but this child is much, much more–it is simply overwhelming—especially for me and my limited understanding.

I can only imagine the thoughts that constantly played out in Mary’s head during her wait of 9 months. The constant wondering of “why me —I am but a simple jewish girl” . . .over and over.
And yet I also imagine a supernatural peace must have engulfed her—as it must have for Joseph as well—that is until it was time to give birth.

I imagine Mary, uncomfortable and in great pain yet by this time, having now plainly accepted her role and relinquishing herself to a greater plan than her own earthly comprehension, is prepared to do what she has been waiting so long to do. Joseph is now the one more afraid and feeling most helpless. My heart breaks for this young couple at this single moment in time as it plays out millennium after millennium.

Our modern eyes look at the artistic images of a placid little family in a tidy little stable which adorn our holiday trimmings—but I bet it was far from the artistic version which we are so familiar with today in our countless nativity scenes and Christmas cards. This was a birth plain and simple and a birth is never a nice, neat, tidy event. To say Joseph was scared to death would be no illusion.

When hearing these words today, imagined as they are, recalling what could have been the thoughts of a young jewish girl, I am humbled by the sheer magnitude of the situation. I don’t think many of us stop long enough to truly comprehend the resounding implications of such a harrowing circumstance as we busy ourselves with our holiday festivities, but had it not been for this long ago and far away dramatic event, our festivities of today would simply not exist.

May you, during these waning days of Advent, stop long enough during the frantic frenzied days of shopping, working, and of making merry to find a glimpse of the marvelous mystery which is truly a part of this single prayer which must, to some degree, reflect the hopes and fears of a young girl many many years ago.