Approaching the empty tomb

I just read this great reflection on lent, Ash Wednesday, and Easter.

It’s filled me with this repentance.

I’ve been really wrestling with me, me, me, and worldy concerns.  Some of this wordliness is the worst kind of worldliness, it’s the kind that masquerades as being deep and spiritual.

I guess it’s so insidious because it’s wrapped up and enmeshed with some pretty good stuff.  I’ve blogbabbled (cool word, huh?) enough about being able to share the message on Sunday. 

But a new small group is starting up which I’m leading and I’m pumped about that.  It’s awesome to be part of the leadership team at Fellowship Church, and this gets me all excited too.

There’s lots of reasons that I should be pumped.  But I’m enjoying the recognition more than I think I should.  It’s drawing my focus away.

And that blog, it pointed out  that Ash Wednesday is past.  And it’s not so much about getting focused on one specific day… But I’m growing increasingly convinced that we should be preparing ourselves for the miracle of Easter.  Our hearts should be ready to grasp the fullness of what occured.

I think we have an unbalancedness (is that a word?)  It’s not unusual to think about approaching the cross.   And we build our little nativity scenes.  These correspond to our theology some.  Contemporary Christianity is great about capturing Jesus’ humanity… This is why we spend so much energy thinking about his birth.  And Contemporary Christianity similarly easily focuses on the cross: the price that Jesus paid for us.

But are these more important than the resseruction?  If Jesus hadn’t risen victoriously the others are irrelevancies.  We’re all born.  Thousands of people were crucified.  If Jesus hadn’t been bigger than the punishment he bore for us, then we would not be able to worship Him. 

I think the birth, crucifiction, and ressurection form a sort-of trinity of events: Each is an independent event but they are all one, as well. 

So  I’m in prayer now for how best to prepare my heart for Jesus’ empty tomb.  I’d love to hear how others approach these things.  Post a reply and let me know.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

3 thoughts on “Approaching the empty tomb”

  1. hey jeff,

    there are stumbling blocks, and then there are mountains. there are those who never get to the base of the resurrection because of the little steps along the way. and there are those that get to basecamp and are overcome in their spirit at the task ahead. it is precisely that our Savior lives and reigns still and eternally that so many turn back at the foot of Everest.

    alot of those people consider themselves Christians. they are believing the bits and pieces, and they love the stories of the Jesus in the pages of the Bible. yet, receiving the relationship with this living Christ Jesus is just too hard. i believe it’s so hard because the requirement to come before God with nothing in your hands and with no other gods is a painful transition. it’s kind of like having a broken bone set without anesthesia; it hurts like hell, but the relief is amazing.

    it defies logic. God doesn’t even require that we come to him fixed already – just willing to be. it strikes at the heart of sin and rebellion that we would cooperate with the Holy Spirit and ‘enter in’. the humility necessary to say “my way isn’t such a good thing, i’m going to go the way of this Jesus i can’t sense” is not humanly possible to muster. it makes no sense.

    take heart. you are so right. the empty tomb is symptomatic of the greater reality that Jesus’ body weren’t just stolen or “eaten by wild dogs”. He is alive.



  2. Jeff, one thing I Love about you (in the most non-gay way possible) is that you are incredibly open with your thoughts and struggles.
    Your thoughts here are right on. I think we often times forget the power of the empty tomb or the baby in the manger. I think we can trivialize it like the story of Jonah, and Noah, and categorize them as children’s stories. We begin to view them as great epic “stories” forgetting that every word is true. We have heard these stories so often that they loose their meaning. Or I should say WE loose the meaning.
    I wish I knew how to recapture that sense of awe and wonder at the sacrifice God made for us. Short of watching “the Passion.”
    I applaud your openness as you seek to prepare your heart in this matter.
    Thanks Jeff


  3. Jeff,

    Thanks for your openness and your desire to always do the right thing (except maybe politically,jk) Anyways, now that you’re working on these things, I need to teach you how to hide a link.


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