Just a Little Taste of Heaven

Easter was different for me this year.

With my parents and single daughter in Branson, and not having been there since Christmas, I knew I needed to head that way.

This would mean leaving my husband to preach in Kansas, missing the celebration with our church family, but only having a 3 day weekend occasionally available, it was now or wait until June.

I left after work on Thursday and as I drove, I reminisced about the times when as a family, we were usually together. With four of our five adult children married now and spread apart, it was happening much less often.

None of them are in the same vicinity of each other. Branson, Idaho, North Eastern Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas have called all of them in different directions, making it a stretch to get together more than once a year.

I must admit that this causes me to envy my friends who live within a reasonable range of all their families, where they will fill a weekend with multiple family gatherings, enjoying the food, worship, Easter egg hunts and building memories.

It isn’t that I regret my life or choices. Ultimately, I know that all of them are about God’s sovereign lead and call. He has a plan for each of us and it is not always the same. Nonetheless, at times, I must admit, I miss my whole tribe being together!

So, with my parents staying put, my daughter and I headed to an outdoor Good Friday service with her church that was being held at a ranch. Many people were there and it was a treat to sit with some of her friends and share in the service.

After some worship and prayer, the girls and I made our way to the barn area and as I was waiting for them to return, someone grabbed me for a big hug and I realized it was a friend of my daughter’s who happened to notice me standing alone. I hadn’t seen Nathan for awhile and it was such a surprise to have him find me in the crowd.

As a part of the service, we were asked to find our way to a table of twelve where a host and hostess would serve us communion. It would be a reminder of the last supper when the intimate group of Christ followers shared in the breaking of bread and drinking of the cup before the crucifixion that was to come. It was to be a family feel in a small intimate setting as we reflected on these last hours leading up to the cross. I hadn’t thought about the table we were sitting at until I realized that I was being served communion by two friend’s of my kids, who were on staff at the church. Out of all of the tables that were there, and we sat at the one where they knew our names!

It was a special time as another friend joined us and our table was full with familiar faces. Call it an epiphany or what have you, but the Lord seemed to be opening my eyes to realize that someday, in his kingdom, every face will be familiar and everyone will be family.

There will be a day when we are no longer separated, lonely or missing our loved ones, but all who are in eternity with us, will be a loved one because they loved “the One”. They will know our name, we will know theirs and we will have a familiarity with one another because of the spirit of Christ who unifies all believers.

We will be one big, happy family, under one roof, sharing a banquet table that will seat us all.

Until that day, when I am finally home, it is a comfort to know that God is able to meet my every need right here and right now, even if it means providing a family in the absence of my own.

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

ARE YOU MISSING SOMETHING?

When my son, Seth was little, he loved the song, “He is Alive” by Don Francisco.

He often heard it played at Easter time, enjoying the ballad that told of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.

Fast forward to a day when Seth had the opportunity to actually hear Francisco perform that evening at his college campus!

He went through his day attending classes and at one point got on an elevator with an older guy, enjoying a short visit before they went their separate ways.

Much to Seth’s surprise, when he arrived at the concert that evening, the same man from the elevator was on stage.

As he began to strum and sing, reality slowly sank in that this was Don Francisco himself!

Oh, those missed moments when we are clueless as to what or ‘who’ is right in front of us!

As I have been studying in the gospel of John, this is what keeps going through my mind:

How did the people miss Jesus?!

He kept telling them who he was, that God had sent him, that He was the Christ and they didn’t get it.

He performed sign after sign, even raising people from the dead and they continued to badger and harass him about who he was.

Just as Seth had a picture in his mind of what he thought Don Francisco would look like, so did the people in Jesus day have a picture of him.

They imagined the messiah to be a prominent and powerful political leader.

This Jesus surely could not be him because he didn’t follow their rules.

As the deliverer of Israel, he was to rescue them from their oppressors not from their sins.

The Messiah was to come for the Jews, yet he spent time with Gentiles as well.

He taught in the synagogue without their esteemed credentials.

He healed the down and outcast, doing so even on the Sabbath.

No, this son of Mary and Joseph could not be God.

He must be out of his mind.

Had they taken the time to revisit the writings of their own prophets they would have seen that indeed, he was who he said he was.

Some people don’t have to tell us their name but we know who they are the minute they start to sing.

Others lay down their very lives and sadly, we still miss who they are.