Friday, April 24, 2015

Hard To Hear Sunday Brainwave

  I don't know about you, but it can be difficult for me to "listen sympathetically" to some people. Be forwarned! It might well be tough for you to read this particular C.P.E., in that; . . . well you know.
  Ordinarily, it seems that folks like small talk, and later they go in for history of life lived, in a much abbreviated fashion. Next comes humorous stories and comparative "big moments". Have I ever mentioned that I met Ronnie Howard one day? People like to talk about their kids, old jobs, and other interesting things, and so far I'm all-in! Where it starts getting rocky is that section of road in which "discoveries" were made.
  Did I mention that I invented the wheel to you? It's just that some other guy beat me to the patent office by about 4000 years or so. Conversation which (we suppose) is intended to reveal insights gained, to rehearse life lessons learned, for me, this type of stuff is hard to listen to.
  Ordinarily, people will warn you off of this track with verbal clues. You say something like; ". . . and I've learned over the years, that humility (for an example) is really important". The clue coming back that listening has recently come to a halt sounds something like; "Oh, that's just common sense, everybody knows that", and is dropped to derail that brain train. No stops here please!
  The life lessons we learn seem on the inside of us to be terribly relevant, and really quite unexpected! Yet somehow in the verbalizing of said brainwave, and kinda sorta giving a run-up account of just how we arrived at the destination, often sounds like truisms or platitudes. Beats me, as to just why this is so.
  As an aside, I personally dislike the phrase "just common sense" and almost never employ it. Newsflash, this just in; if one must be informed of common-ness, it therefore is not so awfully common in the first place. "I would rather not hear this", likely considered rude, would at least be honest. I (predictably) fail in both directions, and attempt a half-hearted agreement, while studiously gazing about trying to find the EXIT sign. It is quite possible after all, for us to but "appear to be" listening.
  So anyhow, consider yourself forewarned in that I propose to go where no plumber has ever gone before, so to reveal the (mildly) astounding brainwave from last Sunday!
  The "I always thought" preamble is unfortunately part of the presentation, so deal with it. Dave the Sunday school guy was doing an interesting diagram job up on the whiteboard. He is a clever fellow, and I was just sitting there, quaffing black death (coffee) passing out cookies, and minding my own darned business. History does not record for us whether the life lesson thing kicked into high gear directly as a result of Daves' teaching, or whether some interior logic bomb in my skull, jump-started the shocking conclusion. Have you noticed? Many, if not all of the hard to hear stuff is "revealed" to the unwilling with just that same intro; "I was so surprised, shocked even!". Then it turns out that the guy is in favor of "perspective and balance" or something? Wake me when this is over?
  Apparently then, the making of the small into the great, and vice-versa is a human type hobby? So, like I was saying before I interrupted me (and getting back to the thrilling narrative!); the brainwave in much condensed form, runs this-away.
  In Luke, 24: 25-27 (go look it up if you care) the "Stranger" to Jerusalem begins with Moses and the prophets. The grand conclusion of Mister Explainer is; "Was it not necessary?". I have often thought that it would have been great to eavesdrop on that days' conversation. For one, it has never been too awfully clear to me just how the shape, the texture, and the drift of the O.T. predominantly concurs with the Strangers' analysis. Oh sure, here and there we get snippets and peeks into the Messiah necessarily suffering, but to say that this need is the predominant textual theme? How does one get there from here?
  Warning; next comes the; "I always thought" section of the life lesson which is intended by the "vast" differences in between, to draw you in!
  So Dave is up there with timelines, arrows and lots of historical background, and WHAM (!) it hits me. I had always thought of the sad series of collapses, turnings away from, stabbings in the back to YAHWEH which the first section of the Bible records, as a kind of; "Don't let this happen to you" type of sound moral advice. Those rascally Israelites are all the time cooking up some whacky new method to spit in His face, forget, ignore and generally speaking fail at things holy, true and good.
  In this sense, the book might be somewhat like making jokes about the man standing onshore throwing the life-ring so to prevent your drowning. Or maybe the text is about a commmittee involved in the weird practice of forgetting to breathe air? Maybe the thing is a general description of amnesiacs, and their serial failure at remembering (correctly) even the simplest of things? Fascinating I suppose, but isn't that "common sense"? The entire schmeer of the history recorded looked very much to me as if; "Don't let this happen to you!" was the bumper sticker variety of the message. Don't was the theme!
  Lemme tell ya, I was shocked! Please do not yawn. What if, just what if indeed the overarching theme of the O.T. is messianic, then what? This is what.
  "He who wrestles with El" (Israel) is "found wanting, is weighed in the scales of justice, and sent away. That same wrestler is later returned to the inherited land, after a predicted time elapses"! Thus, the serial collapse of little wrestles-with, is a drawing, a picture of the actual Wrestles-With. Found guilty, wrestles-with is sent away from the inheritance, and in light of covenant, he is brought back home. Watch for that! Wrestles-With (Himself) is judged, sent away and returns.
  We look not for some form of bland moralism, to the effect that I'd better pay attention and try a bit harder? What if instead, it is as close as possible, an enormous scale drawing to the actual picture, as fallen folk are capable of?
  Think with me, people speak of the alarming statistical improbability of the many specific prophetic utterances coming true in one mans' life, as (I guess) the reason why we ought affirm the identity of the Stranger. Personally, this line of reason has never been very compelling for me, in that it clearly required assistance for those speaking in person with Him that day to be able to recognize Him. Numbers alone don't do the trick.
  Logic alone might be interesting, but nobody wagers their house on mere logic. Logic is stronger than common sense, but in staking lives something is yet missing. It is always logic-plus something which we require.
  Think back, we sometimes meet old friends whom we have not seen in years. In some cases, the cognition is plain as noonday and we embrace them with a; "You are a sight for sore eyes!". It goes downhill from there, and soon we need hints to coax the memory forward. Sometimes the face is kind of familiar, and the name stubbornly refuses to surface. We need help remembering friends? Next, and embarrassingly, we have not the froggiest fig newton as to who this person claims to be! Even with their nudges and prompts, we still have no idea who the guy is! Jesus is like that.
  With King Kong sized letters, the monstrously huge lesson on correctly naming Him is blazed across history for all the world to see.
  In small print, He like Jonah, three days in the whale,  Him like David the (solitary) man after Els' own heart, look for that One! We know this. Like Noah, the preserver of life in the overthrow is He. Like Saul, the high king refused from above, watch for that. All these, and a hundred more particulars we might name as "tiny markers", but the people as a unit? Who saw that one coming?
  The whopper sign, the predictive element is the pattern of collapse, judgement, sending away and returning home. What I thought (privately mostly) was to the effect; "I really don't know what He sees in them, why does He put up with such abuse anyhow?". Using a moralist type of lens to see by, does not allow you to note the striking similarity of the huge face across time; with the One face in time.
  Lewis said something once like: "At the end, there is One face we long to see, one in which all our joys, hopes and dreams hinge upon. At the other end of that spectrum is another face. The malice and heartless insanity of it is poison to our souls". By the way, that is not a quote. Doubtless, I butchered it; but get my point here please!
  If a fleet of "skywriters" (are they still around?) got together and instead of writing in the sky a few words, they drew a monster humoungous picture of Ed, wouldn't you notice the big grin, the crooked nose, and that crazy hat? Wouldn't you recognize the similarities between the sky picture and the guy standing next to you?
  Answer; "Not without help!" Help is come, thus listen to the "Sunday hard to hear brainwave" number one. Gosh, I wonder what next week will be about? That Dave guy is full of surprises!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Coming Aion Come (date unknown)

  Have you ever considered the word "aion"? I am fairly certain that it is the origin of our word "eon", which appears to be an imprecisely long while? Well, the next time you're really bored, try summarizing Thayers' explanation of word number 165. If that proves to be a too tedious adventure, then just look it up in a concordance.
  Here's my short list of what this one word translates into; 1. age, 2. ages, 3. ancient time, 4. beginning of time, 5. course, 6. eternal, 7. eternity, 8. ever, 9. forever, 10. forever and ever (!), 11. forevermore, 12. never (!), 13. old, 14. world, 15. worlds. And these my friend, are all somehow the meaning of one word? I find it particularly odd that the same word is its' own antonym; i.e., evermore and never. This here is quite a word indeed!
  It is sometimes difficult for us to arrest the meaning of foreign words into nice tight definitions, but this one is a doozy. It is not as if the idea behind the word is untranslatable, but rather it might take paragraphs in English to convey the freight.
  An idea in current usage in one people may well be difficult to say simply in their neighbors' lingo, but to take a people from two millenia ago and say their idea in our current usage, could well take pages, not paragraphs. To this, I endeavor today; and hence this C.P.E.
  So, in the first place, let's shrink the discussion some. Even among two speakers of the same language, it is common to have to "translate" certain words or phrases. Metaphor and simile are used, repetition, hand signs and tone of voice are all deployed, for the other to "get it". The "it" is the central nub, the unifying idea behind the pantomime, allusion, comparison and sometimes exasperating explanation of a thing.
  For an old word which could alternately mean world, ancient time and forever, we would ask; "What is missing in my brain as the basic idea?". These were (to ancient Greeks) "obvious", to us; not so much. The premise then of today's essay of the crazed pants variety, is that; in our normal inference aion most closely relates to eternal, as if that were the nub of the thing.
  I (for one) am not so sure just here, for the excellent reason that I can only dimly grasp the idea of a non-ending sequence. Rather like a rope with only one end, such is hard to imagine! And if I am even mildly accurate, then how could such an unimaginable mental picture become so hugely important a word in that distant culture?
  The end of things, the world to come, the eternal ("after" this one) state, and such like stuff are clearly linked to escathology. And if "eternal" (one ended rope) is the general drift of our usage of their word, have we captured the idea that they ordinarily implied?
  Now, to be ruthless, the four or seven or twenty three different "main" types of eschatology prevalent in today's church will not become the topic for today. But, as a kind of rule of thumb, they basically divide over whether we await the aion, or are in it presently, or are in it "in principle only" and to be fully realized later. Ruthless me would ask each of the views how does your big idea build trust, how does it contribute to establishing hope in us, or glory to Him? How, in the here and now, does the aion declare the God-Man as presently holding all authority in heaven and earth?
  And to be blunt, our actual usage of aion is a far cry from any of the "main" theories, in that it is personal and not global nor cosmic. Where a guy really notices the word in our culture is shortly after funerals.
  You know the drill; you stand around in a church somewhere with a bunch of people, eat cake, drink punch and gab. The commentary is to the effect; "Bob is with-Jesus-now". He is better off, not having to suffer (us!) any longer. Essentially, Bob has made an awesome leap to "that place" (aion), and there nobody cries themselves to sleep, nobody is sick, and importantly, nobody is confused about one ended ropes! Our eschatological feuds over whether God is going to smash the universe, or merely remodel the old one, all that bickering over when the "rapture" occurs, the incessant sniping about Him sitting on a chair in Jerusalem (or not), none of that junk bugs Bob anymore!
  Weirdly then, we appear to be applying the formula "He is with Jesus now", to affirm that while down here with us, he was not with Jesus? No, of course not, don't be silly! But if Jesus was with Bob here, and Bob is with Jesus there, what changed? It goes on forever? I'd say, that a one ended rope does little to alter our basic premise at funerals; which is simply, the dead are better off than they used to be, provided of course that they "go up".
  Doesn't it seem a bit odd to you that Jesus's message if this were true, ought work out to; "If you're miserable here, well face it that's the way things are it is a lousy world. But, if you believe in Me, I've got this other world upstairs where (after you croak that is); you can really begin to live! Not only that, but it goes on and on and on. . ." This is His message? So, from our side then, a modicum of decency, a dab of humility, and a boatload of endurance is the the entry card? This is the good news; "Try harder?".
  In the Bible I read, the actual Jesus is all the time pointing out the cheapskate, pee-wee spiritually midget faith we humans are so fond of, as a thing to be walked away from. But have we asked Him why He keeps talking that way? Back to Bob's funeral for a moment, we keep reciting the midget theme of "Bob-to-Jesus". But to invert this, Jesus to Bob, and to us, and to the world, and to all creation and likewise the new creation, is the big idea!
  The kingdom is come, how can we tell? Duh, the King arrived? Jesus went (from on high) to "be-with-us", that is the theme He keeps hammering home. The universe has been stood on its' head! The highest stooped to join the nobodies, so the first has become last, thus the last shall be first. He who is the treasure, impoverished Himself, that we be enriched, indeed, the poor are blessed! The reason He is impatient with our lack of faith here is that this horrendously obvious inversion of reality is mainly going un-noticed by those standing upon their heads. They always see things upside down in the first place, and of themselves cannot note that one Man standing upright is signal of a new thing breaking into the world. But, Him coming to us means we are not "of our own selves", it is this which He objects to!
  I mean, can you even imagine an Alexander the Great, or a Napolean Bonapart, going out amid the working stiffs to make friends of them, contibute to their sanity and help with the chores? Can you picture "the great ones" coaxing loyalty, easing fears so to convince the numbed and broken of good sense? Heck no! They sit on their high chair and are pampered. To them the "low" bring tribute, taxes and flattery. Our unlikely Alexander (at alarming levels of authority!) has arrived. And even today, rather than us going to Him, He is coming to us!
  This new thing has no end, and so the one ended rope isn't about time-cubed or some darned thing, it is about Him! He comes to persuade, to argue with, to woo and charm, to irresistably draw them. And He does so by capturing hearts!
  The powers of the aion to come, have come, and also today is coming, and so, shall ever. His goodness knows no end! He the eternal-One, is the one making eternity a thing worth having in the first place.
  It is not as if Bob is more forgiven now than he used to be down here, it's just that the blockhead finally "got it"! The reason the King is impatient with"doubts" is about the same as you being impatient with a third grader who has "legitimate doubts" about the times tables, except far moreso. Junior simply has no right to "doubt" 3 X 4 = 12.
  The premise of math is based upon the theory of counting. To any number, add one, and you always get the next number. Is this proven infinitely true, have we examined all possible examples? No, that was never the point! We are to use counting, and so build a world. Jesus invented and owns math.
  He is the actual builder of worlds, the eternal Son, the ancient of Days, and yes our faith is weak and small, and also in trust we ask for it to grow, to keep adding one! The resurrection to come is not a "new" thing to those already awakened from the dead. Awakened today, not so much to cling-to Him, but rather to be embraced-by Him. Reality is safe, because He went to be with us! Simply said, there are some things we just have no right to doubt!
  His hollering at hillsides, so to cast them into the sea, is saying that with Him coming to be with us, there is no "upper limit" as to how much traction and growth, how many ones  we may safely add "down here". The highest of the high, has gone to be with us, and He lifts us, "up there", we see no "top" to that building. In Him, one ended rope makes sense! He is what the aion is "about", He is whom we trust, and in He we hope. By Him, we are taught, in Him we thrive, this is our missing connect.
  A new kind of tree is growing in earth, but not of it. Shining with the light of a clean fresh wild world, and as it spreads seed across the globe, those "plant children" of that tree are likewise shining with a light not of this dark. So, take notice already!
  Thus, the aion unto the aion of aions. He sees us, and as a result we too begin to see. . . Him!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Enterprising Talent Scouts

  When you go to watch Aggie baseball in the spring, you might occasionally spot a scout from Major League ball in the stands. The normal giveaways such that we begin to suspect scoutery afoot, are fairly obvious.
  The guy is sitting quietly, intently observing and measuring the plays being made (or not). Often, a small clipboard, or a tablet of some type keeps getting notations. He doesn't appear to be "for" either team, and never makes remarks aloud about umpire callls. The radar gun he occasionally deploys to gauge pitch speed is likely the most obvious sign that he is sizing up players, for a report. And although I do not know this part to be true, we assume that the players themselves are also quite aware of his presence in the stands. They want to look good, and here is their chance to shine!
  On an apparently unrelated note; I vaguely recall as a boy watching "The Ted Mack Amateur Hour" on T.V., and in this case the scouting for talent, was (I think) not an expert, but the audience. Whatever falls under the wide rubric of "talent"; singing, dancing, juggling, ventroliquism and whatnot were called "acts". Whatever the week"s prize was, the show was nationally televised; and so a "hope" was extended to the performers. Maybe this is where they "get discovered", next stop; the bigtime!
  This measuring of which is best, and what is worth what ("wiww"; in much of the remainder of this C.P.E.) is an interesting topic, don't you agree?
  Have you seen those dog shows? The judges are awarding something for some kind of behavior, plus looks I think. The wiww involved, is clearly outside my scope. Just why a said winner won in my estimation remains a mystery. We assume that the dog owners must devote tremendous amounts of time, energy and effort to get the perfect dog to do the perfect thing. I cannot imagine why, but the judges can!
  We all deploy wiww fields. Mario is a street rod guy, and can spot a chopped '49 Dodge from a quarter mile away, plus tell you how the car is merely alright, and not truly great. Big Joe can paint up a storm on the tank of a motorcycle, he has the feel for quality, and can sense almost clean work. We each have areas of our person, where we feel competent to be the unpaid scout for talent, ability and expertise.
  I have, over the years attempted to understand some of the areas for which I possess zero aptitude, in the (usually vain) hopes of gaining perspective or insight from others. Gabe the mechanic will tell you if you just ask; "Well, what makes this particular engine so powerful compared to others?". He knows! He knows the names of cars as they go by, and rattles off the brief histories of their engineering. They all look like jelly beans with wheels to me. Rick the tree guy will bend your ear with various theories of irrigation, and nitrogen fixing in the soil, if only he could find an audience. Nan the colors girl will wax eloquent on the necessities of shading, plus warm versus cool colorization. We all have onboard scanning to detect wiww in our locus of inborn capacity plus life experience.
  The easiest way to like people is to ask a few leading questions and get them talking about what is worth what, by their lights and standards. Shouldn't I rephrase? I guess we mean, the easiest way for you to get people to assume that you like them (whether you do, or not) is to get them speaking about wiww.
  Now, to my thinking, the word "talent" in english has some rather surprising breadth of meaning. Back on the Mack show, it wasn't that unusual to see "plate spinning" done onstage. As far as we know, there is no use in this world for that skill, except to entertain. The ability to high jump over a seven foot bar will likely never be applied to gaining entry after forgetting gate keys. Singing is a bit different, in that others might perhaps join in? To teach a dog to sit, and then parade around for awhile all of that time resisting the urge to pee on the next upright, appears to be a hobby for royalty maybe? But the basic idea behind talent, is a greek word "talanton"; which simply means "to lift, or weigh".
  The greek word was a well acknowledged standard of measure, having to do with silver or gold. Talents were not so much for spending as they were tools for weighing. A barter economy, plus unregulated metals exchange made a fair balance (remember blind lady justice?), plus known weights essential for mercantile trade. To be weighed in the balance and found wanting, meant that your talent was light, and hence you are a crook!
  The original purpose for weight equalization had to do with the primitive version of inflation I once read. The gold or silver coins minted by the sovereign were passed from hand to hand in sales, but along the way, got progressively lighter! Miracle no, filing the edges yes. Over time, the face value of the coin did not equal the weighted value as the coins themselves shrunk. We compare, out of a standard known.
  Just listen to people; "Drag racing is better than polo", or "song exceeds dance", and the crucial "pudding is worse than pie" we hear them (us!) firmly assert. Soon enough, we find the; "I disagree completely" lurking within a seven foot radius, in a given social gathering. The contrasting views are weighed in the balance by "reason and common sense", and the audience gets to take part! The fair trade, the enterprise of comparing the beauty of dance to the truth of song is weighed. Ordinarily, some truce is struck where both sides can agree; such as, "Elvis really was a great performer after all", or some similar middle ground. Most people appear to be satisfied with seeing things from their perspective, and just letting the matter rest there, but the exceptions are fascinating!
  You meet old people who say; "Oh, I've picked up a few things along the way". The guy knows how to rebuild a motor, raise roses, cook 74 differing ethnic foods, and speed read. . . for starters? The old lady knows how to arc weld, butcher a hog, do the waltz and 42 other dances, plus was a newspaper editor, as opening gambit? These "few things" they mentioned, become rather a swarm in a hurry. Next week, you begin to realize that the swarm is moreso an armada of talents. There is overlap, and those areas they weigh-by, (the wiwws of their lives) have expanded enormously as they have intersected with others. They appear to have reversed or inverted the "keep" option, and do not repeatedly return to their favorite set of talents, but keep growing the collection over time. They have become enterprising souls, trading in the balance with those they meet, so to walk away with yet another talent traded. They have become scouts, able to detect the star players, and measure alternate kinds of wiww fastballs. Once the prospect is located out of the group, they recruit for the trade! They say to the youngster; "You seem like a sharp young fellow", just to imbalance the scale. They lighten their side of the fulcrum, so to get the other into teaching mode, whereupon they rapidly learn and take in so to compare, with the other treasures already gathered. Those old guys can be cagey!
  Just how do you see things anyhow? What is it which reveals in your person what is worth what? I mean, by what standard can you correctly infer that soccer is "a better game"? And it is the standards which are the treasure weighed. Dignity, loyalty, fearlessness, and friendly humility are what is the gravity enhancement, the "weight", the glory of the mambo. Welcome, beauty, truthfulness and endurance are those heavy values, the shine of homemade chicken noodle soup. It's like baseball, but backwards, the MLB heavies have invaded the bush leagues! The small potatoes interests (proper care and feeding of goldfish) are informed by the gravity assist, the heaviness of compassion, gentleness and solemn reflection.
  There is a seeding going on from above, and we are the living witness of it. The terrific freight of loyalty unto death is placed in the shallow ground of newlyweds, and it takes root there! So, to grow up in light of that treasure, next thing we find perseverence, kindness and thoughtful patience have also been gained in the trading.
  How we see things is; "One thing leads to another". Either the spiral is down and in, always tighter and more fearful, or upward, expanding and found to be a great relief. Regardless, one thing always leads to another. With the light we have to see by, we note either the patch illuminated, or the much, much larger darkness. To "keep" (only) our set of wiww perspective, is to pay attention to the dark. We spiral in and down. But, what life is teaching us is; the patch can grow! It remains our responsibility to work to that end.
  Capitalists of the soul, entrepreneurs of the psyche, and so my reading of Matthew 25: 1-30 intends that we all so flourish, and "pick up a few things on the way". . . home!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Easter 2015

  Have you ever received an "Easter card" in the mail? I was sitting around tonight trying to recall if the mailman has ever plunked one in my box. If there ever was one, I have no memory of it.
  Are we even certain though that such things exist? Hallmark or some other enterprising outfit surely must have at least considered the idea. The problem, if there is one with the holiday, is that folks don't spend much on it, like for instance the type of gift giving at Christmas or even Valentine's day. A ham, some sugary junk for the kids, and maybe some lilies, kinda rounds out the shopping spree. Perhaps cards aren't such a hot idea after all?
  We could, (I suppose) deem this here bloggie thing as a sort of "card"? But let's face it, I am not going to mail this to you. Perhaps then, this is a one of a kind, and there is no definition of what it "really is"?
  My old American Heritage dictionary has a great feature in the back of the book. Among the word definitions, also cited are Indo-european root words. As an example, the word "Easter" is linked to something called "awes" in the index. In brief, it means "to shine", which is not too surprising. The word apparently was originally part of some "dawn goddess" cult.
  I can vaguely picture in my mind a gang of Germanic tribesmen, all tricked out in hides, horns and big knives. Since the sun rises in the east, the "dawn bringer" to those cold snowy places must have had quite an avid following.
  In Christianland, I think the premise of "a new day dawning" does fit rather well, but there appear to be some hiccups involved.
  If you ever visit a church on Easter, you will note the refrain. People need to be coached on it, and the first two or three reps are normally pretty lame. The minister or song leader announces "He is risen!". This is where you come in, and the assembly is supposed to joyously respond with; "He is risen indeed!". The entire exercise, seems to me to be a fairly accurate reading of "where" we are when it comes to the topic of lively zeal, thunderous acclaim, exhilarating triumph and whatnot.
  I remember visiting a friend at an old folks home about 20 years ago. A group from one of the local churches was there. Big smiles, guitars, songbooks were all present. I paused for a few minutes to observe the "action".
  The lively young gal was telling the old guys to clap, sing along and "get excited!". Uhm, it wasn't working? These coots were watching the show, one guy was kinda tapping his toes a bit, and one older lady had a big grin on. That was about "it".
  Easter is a very weird holiday in that one is informed by worship leaders that we "ought be" joyous, exultant, and celebrating. I wonder sometimes about this sort of thing.
  My old Dad used to wax eloquent occasionally on the topic of humor, and laughter. He asserted that laughing was good for you, relieved tension, and thus overall was a desirable thing. My response was ordinarily to the effect; "That may be true (I wouldn't know). . . but it ain't funny!". That is, if the goal is humorous release, then saying a funny thing might cause such, but a topical survey of possible health benefits of the "ha-ha" won't draw even a Mona Lisa type smile.
  Likewise then, if the goal is to have a crowd buzzing with glad expectation and excitement, then you must say something exhilarating. To simply dump (yet another) load of guilt; that we do not meet your zeal expectations, might be true enough; but such is definitely not stirring.
  The thing spirals downhill from that poor beginning, and the next cited "fact" is that people go nuts at NFL games, and NASCAR races. . . can't we get a little more jazzed; please? Uhm, it isn't working. We are the old folks.
  The message of Easter actually is exciting. God is light, and in Him is no shadow at all. Glance up at the sun tomorrow morning. Imagine that type of light covering the entire sky, instead of the tiny fractional area that we know. Then add in life. Light (Himself) that not only is intelligent, but knows and decrees all which comes to pass is He. Isaiah had a vision of holy angels, with two of their wings, they must shield their eyes, in that stunning brillliance.
  Easter is saying that Jeshua the Righteous now lives in that Presence. A human man, with a human body, well over two thousand years old, basks in that light!
  The Christian confession that this Jeshua is "Lord" means an alarming thing. He is LORD God, the Almighty, and without contradiction, a man born in a barn. The belief that He is risen from the dead which we hold in the heart, is the evidence of His, and thereby ours also; victory.
  Nobody wants to die, well, nobody except suicidal people want to die in any case. The unspoken reason for this isn't really death itself, but the Judge awaiting us on the other side of it! Pure, Holy and True is He. The light-life-knower of all, knows all of our secrets. Most folks would avoid that encounter if they could. Death says that they can't.
  The reason Easter is joyous is that He survived that meeting! And on a 2-D model, a pebble tossed into a calm pond sends ripples all the way to shore. Jeshua is the "tiny" pebble, and the waves are still coming in!
  The thing that makes folks excited at NASCAR races is the long struggle, the tension arising as to who will prevail at the end. The neck and neck tradeoffs of the lead position generate an anticipation, a tension within us, and it is to that "stress" we respond, by shouting. The win is close, it is nearby and achievable, we can "almost taste it"! Christianity is saying that Jeshua is in the winner's circle, and the smile that He is radiating out, is life!
  The new creation which shall be, is also begun, even now; in this corrupted era of ours. The survivability of death and judgement He is the evidence (in us) of. He on His victory lap, has found a way to transfer His life and trust and hope into the fans. And rather than merely inviting us into the winner's circle to stand next to Him, He (somehow) has transferred the win. . . to us!
  Those German tribesmen had it right! The new day, the new creation, the new start, is begun! The shining is the life, and He is True and Good. He has made us partners in the dance, younger brothers who are fully joint heirs of all that is. And in that very same body which the early believers knew Him, He is pleased to live. . . forever!
  Forever; there is a man at the very summit of power, authority, knowledge, and light, and to that place we go, with eyes unshielded. He is making us all over again, into a new race of the forever alive, the forever glad. This new thing from that-then, placed into this-now is so strong that even we the numbed, we the dying; sense it! It affects even us.
  So, tap your toes a bit if you'd care to, smile; remember, and think ahead. Whatever could death mean to a man like you who goes to meet his Maker, unafraid of Him who knowing it all, greets us as long-lost sons?
  It means Easter, and the waves from that "tiny" pebble, will be coming in. . . always!