when death and resurrection are essentially the same idea


The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
    where morning dawns, where evening fades,
    you call forth songs of joy! – Psalm 65:8

Sunset and resurrection:

Yesterday evening, walking back to my car after meeting with the Wednesday evening men’s covenant group, I glanced up to see this peaceful scene (above) playing out over the CLC. I thought about my friend Sandee, who would pass peacefully into her own sunset a little over an hour later (probably around sundown in Minnesota), and I thanked God for the continuous witness to the resurrection that we enjoy every single day.

IMG_9108A little earlier – just before dinner – I had grabbed a few images from the garden. The dogwoods are done, the azalea bushes are close to the end of their display, and the trees are all busting out with the light-green leaves of springtime. Now – as if to pick up where the dogwoods left off – we have four different colors of iris (and more) vying for attention in the back garden.

Simply put, the whole earth is involved in telling the story. And what a story it is!

It’s a story of birth, of new life, of spring, and growth, of maturity, of autumn, and – eventually – winter, and death. But then Easter plays in to the equation, and we have to realize that what we understand as death is really nothing more (or less) than rebirth into something new.

This past Sunday (yes, it seems a long, long time ago) Jesus set the new standard by reinventing the idea of resurrection. Resurrection – and I get into this in detail in my lenten book, Reaching Towards Easter – is a movement forward, not a return to the status quo. If we are indeed an Easter People, then death and birth are very much the same event.

IMG_9110It’s not just that we have a lot to look forward to in life beyond life; it’s more that we have much to celebrate now. This life as followers of Jesus is full with life-charged opportunities, invitations to live into our Easter faith.

So here is a sunset, and also some new flowers. Both tell the same story, and that is the story of life, of renewal, of celebration, and of new creation.

– We are so consummately blessed, in all that we are and all that will be – DEREK


Signs of the times (blooming flowers – and grandchildren)

img_7950Jesus: “And why do you worry about clothes? Notice how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. But I say to you that even Solomon in all of his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, won’t God do much more for you, you people of weak faith?” – Matthew 6:28-30

One of the sweetest things about an early spring is the sudden arrival of so many beautiful flowers. Daffodils are springing up all over, Hellebore, Iris, and a slew of other delicate blooms. I’m itching to get out with my Nikon and capture some images, but I simply haven’t had the time and I’m not sure when I will. I just hope they wait for me.

The other spectacular spring display comprises our beautiful grandchildren, David and Beks. They bloom and they grow, and they bloom some more. Every time I see them I have to shake my head in wonder at what perfect work the Creator does.

Yes, they’re scrumptious!

cruise ship photo

I’m heading up to get them for a few days next week, and we all know it won’t be more than a few minutes before I’ll have more new photos than I’ll know what to do with. So it makes sense to share these latest portraits now, before the moment will have passed.

So here they are, shamelessly pasted into this blog by a grandaddy who is completely convinced that ours are the most amazing and attractive grandchildren ever, since the dawn of time, and certainly since the invention of the camera. And the wonderful thing is that I entirely believe you when you insist that it’s yours who are the best, the brightest, and the most beautiful.

It’s part of the wonder of being a grandparent. It may be a non-sequitur to say that everyone has the most beautiful granddaughter, but it’s a proven fact that we all do; it may not make logical sense to say that my grandson is the smartest kid in the state, when we all know that yours is too – but it’s okay.

Royal Caribbean photographer

Fact is, in the world of grand-parenting, we understand that we don’t have to put someone else’s family down in order for ours to be awesome. My being right doesn’t make you any less right, and your grandchild’s genius can stand right next to the Nobel Prize certainty of mine.

Interestingly, there’s a lot of broadly applicable truth held is all this seemingly gratuitous glad-handing and back-slapping. Because it turns out we’re on to something, us grandparents. What we’re on to is the deep truth that it’s just fine if I’m outlandishly blessed – because at the same time, so are you; that goodwill invariably replicates itself; that rooting for other people is more effective than putting them down; that there is room at the top for everyone; that in real life there can be winners and winners; and that it’s entirely possible to hold opposite viewpoints and both be right.

Your grandchildren sure do shine! And I know you agree that mine do too. Just look at them bloom!

Of course we’re both right. I wouldn’t want it any other way – DEREK