Risen and Brand New: Baptismal Health!

Reading time: two minutes.

At my house, tulips are a sure thing.  Forget the roses and violets.  Carol loves the tulips.  I Tulipthought about planting some last fall, but those bulbs are so nasty, dry and lumpy that I didn’t.  No vision, I guess.  It’s hard to see something beautiful coming from something so ugly.

I’m glad Jesus has better vision than I do.

Easter is new life, and baptismal wellbeing is the fountain of new life God has given to each of us.  It’s a daily planting of the nasty and ugly, and then, without waiting through a long winter or even through forty days of Lent, new life!  Beauty!  Beginning!  Fresh!  Spring!

How’s your Easter today?I really treasure our annual journey through the liturgical calendar.  I also treasure my daily journey of dying and rising, of Lent and Easter.  Yesterday I commented to our founder, Dr. John Eckrich, that for Lutherans, every morning is Easter morning.  He said with a laugh, “I thought every day for Lutherans was Lent!”  (Thanks, Garrison Keillor!)

We decided both were true.

The thirty Lent/Easter’s I celebrated as a parish pastor were grueling and draining on me; physically, spiritually, relationally.  On Easter Monday, I usually felt like a tulip bulb.  Pretty dried up.  Not too beautiful.

I learned to make the week after Easter a time for refreshment.  The tulips helped.  As I took waterwavetime to slow down, remember God’s perfect baptismal grace to me, my Lenten failures began to fall away.

I never once accomplished everything I intended for Lent and Easter.  I never made every invitation I intended.  Never wrote or delivered the perfect Easter sermon.

But once things slowed down a little, I was able to huddle at the foot of the cross, bury my nasty, dry, lumpy burdens there, and look over at the empty tomb.  By returning once again to the baptismal waters, the pure fountain flowing from Jesus’ side, kneeling there in the garden, I could hear once again my Savior calling to me by name.

And I could know once again that because of His grace toward me, even though I felt like a dry, lifeless bulb, Jesus saw me as a tulip, risen, alive, beautiful in the eyes of my Beloved.

So how’s your Easter?

On our retreats I often hear pastors say that while they lead worship every Sunday, they have Cupping Hands underwaterforgotten how to worship.  Today is your opportunity.

My prayer for pastors, educators, musicians this week is that in these (relatively) quiet days after Easter, you will find time to make your own journey to the cross and the empty tomb for the refreshment and new life Jesus has for you.

Visit the garden.  Bury the bulb.  Hear Him call your name.  Enjoy the new creation that you are in His perfect love.

Thanks for reading.

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