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A shimmering sari draped over the pulpit as the storyteller mesmerized her audience. She transported the listeners into a past era. A regal ballroom came alive. The mysterious sikh and his abrupt proposal wove enchantment and apprehension into the room’s ambiance.

Chivalrous adventures from childhood, tales of battlefront survival, and bittersweet love stories followed. Friday’s storytelling event knitted colorful pieces into an artful production. While true stories outnumbered fiction, personalities shone through each line. The resplendent effect of variety bedazzled the show.

And its performers. Despite compliments from other storytellers, the evening’s underlying artwork humbled me. Each speaker represented a thousand amazing tales, dreamed and true. Their life stories stretched back decades beyond mine, into places and times I struggled to imagine. A rich field of inspiration surrounded me. 

Defer all applause, then, to the Master Storyteller. Creator of dream-generating souls, the Lord crafts remarkable life stories which envelop the universe. The magnificent tales stretch across eternity, farther than the eye can see or the mind can fathom. Each saga bears inspirational potential. Praise the Sovereign Lord, Who masters the art of variety each moment. He crafts infinity within the finite, and His creation invites us to draw nearer to the richness of His presence.

Let me take more time to sit at the Master’s feet and attend to His amazing stories.

‘…And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’…You who bring good news …lift up your voice with a shoutHave you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth…Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:  Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing…The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:5-31)

A life-changing operation offers sight to a sixty-six year-old woman who had been born blind. She describes her overwhelming delight at seeing her local grocery store’s produce section, feasting her new eyes on the magnificent colors. She told news reporters that she wanted to taste each fruit again to fully experience its multi-sensory spectrum of beauty. Imagine her first view of the sunrise.

Two women rush to the gravesite of a beloved teacher. Upon arrival, they find an empty tomb. Grief floods their perception, and they struggle to comprehend what is happening. Through her muffling sobs, Mary can hear a man asking who she seeks. Tears blind her as she begs this fellow to tell her if he knows where she can find the missing body.

“Mary.”

When Jesus calls her by name, she sees at last. She recalls His words and understands. Since creation, there has never been a new day like this one. It is dawn, and everything has changed. 

He calls the grieving and lost souls by name. We need only ask to claim His offer of peace, made possible through the sacrifice of His body. Those who seek light in this world of death and darkness can have hope. A new dawn awaits.

Receiving Christ rebirth us into life in a fresh spectrum of hope and joy. Everything changes. Yet another new perspective lingers on the horizon. A brilliant feast for senses and spirit lies beyond our view. When believers enter heaven, they enjoy the dawn of unimaginable glory for eternity.

Praise be to my Risen Savior, Who opened my eyes and brought me to dwell in His love. Praise be to my Lord, Who opens my spirit to new wonders of His glory each day, now and forevermore.

May the Light of the World dawn into your hearts with a fresh glimpse of eternal splendor this Easter.

 

“…two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot…asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying?’

‘They have taken my Lord away,’ she said, ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’  At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.’

Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’” (John 20:12-16)

“Hosanna!”

Dust rolled up from the shuffle of thousands of sandals. Fresh cut palm fronds mingled a clean scent with the sweat of bodies pressing closer to the road. Tattered cloaks flew overhead like banners unrolling across the spring sun. Kings went to war in this season, returning on a donkey to announce victory.

“Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel!”

Hungry, lost souls thronged the street. Their outcry’s literal meaning was, “Save!”

Another chant soon took its place. 

“Crucify Him!”

The multitude pleading for a king did not see his crown of thorns as a symbol of glory. They failed to recognize the scarlet blood robing him at his moment of royal triumph. Not even his beloved followers perceived the correlated cries of salvation and sacrifice.

With raised hands and waving palms, today we cry, “Hosanna!” Let us lift our hearts with deep thanks for the cost of our salvation, paid by the King  on our behalf. Let’s unfurl song-banners of praise for the Lamb of God, who rode into the midst of human sin and darkness to deliver us through his unsurpassed suffering into eternal life. 

Blessed is the King of Kings!

We travel the daily paths of life as vagrants. Our home exists in another Kingdom. We wear rags now, as opposed to the robes of our inheritance. Passers by hurl insults and treat us with contempt. Betrayal can dim the light around our campfires. Life’s rough journey can sap our strength. Chilly nights and painful days can tempt callouses to grow over our tender hearts. Some of us begin adopting the mindsets of the world’s residents.

Then the uncommon peddler arrives, selling without taking payment from customers. He wears rags, like we do, but dances in them. Expressing thanks for his walk, he wraps the blisters on his soles. The peddler grants compassion to the hecklers, the back-stabbers, and their victims. His smile blares a silent melody. The insults fade into background noise in his presence. He sings to brighten the fires, and springs onto the road with vigor each morning. The peddler discourages us from marveling at his indefatigable joy. Instead, he offers the secret to living an awe-drenched life. He refuses compensation, since the joy came to him free of charge. In fact, he insists all Kingdom citizens have access to it already.

We lean in, expecting a profound discipline of daily steps. His recipe seems too simple at first. “Seek God. Seek the Lord with all your heart. Cling to His love with your mind and soul. Let nothing else shift your focus from the love of Christ. What you seek, you will likely live by.”

If I look for sunshine, I can find its light despite a thick cover of storms. If I scour the day’s journey in search of beauty, I will find some remnant of creation to satisfy my pursuit. Complaints present themselves with little effort, and it takes no work to discover a shadow. I must choose my focus with determination, or my mindset will slide into the world’s default setting of darkness. I don’t want the common life of likely pity and despair. I will aspire to peddle the secret to indefatigable joy, clinging to the love of my Savior until I am no longer a vagrant. I might not model it with perfection at first, but Kingdom citizens don’t have to journey this road alone. Perhaps we can support one another’s efforts to dance on sore feet and brighten the campfires with His love.

“I say these things …so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them…the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world... I pray also …that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me… I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” – John 17:13-25

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

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