Sunday, April 20, 2014

Lent Ponderings {Resurrection Sunday}

{Edited and updated on Easter Monday, April 21.}

That day 20 years ago, when he became "Papa" to me...

I will miss him dearly... though hard to accept that we aren't able to see him when we visit the Philippines just two short months from now, I am deeply thankful that he is no longer suffering and is now resting in Jesus' everlasting arms.

Just a few hours after publishing this blog post yesterday, on Resurrection Sunday evening, Papa went home to be with Jesus.

Though unknown to me at the time of posting, I am thankful that this blog post has now become a tribute to a man who lived a life well-lived.
Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about those Christians who have died so you will not be sad, as others who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and that he rose again. So, because of him, God will raise with Jesus those who have died. What we tell you now is the Lord’s own message. We who are living when the Lord comes again will not go before those who have already died. The Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And those who have died believing in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive will be gathered up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, NCV.
Some of our last photos with him...

:: :: ::

It has been...
a roller-coaster-like, emotionally-draining, tough-to-face kind of week for our family... this past week leading up to Resurrection Sunday.

One who is a dearly beloved of ours lays suffering in a hospital's Intensive Care Unit, half a world away, battling pneumonia while fighting stage four lung cancer. Hard of breathing, loss of consciousness, suspected blood clots.

The fragility of life hits close to home. Its brevity, its fleetingness all too real.

Our hearts break. Our tears fall. 

And we wait for news... we wait, wait, wait. 
Waiting is hard. Waiting from afar, even harder.
Trusting and waiting is hard. Pain and suffering, even harder.

Photo Credit: Red Letter Christians

Yet, in the places and circumstances resembling dark Holy Saturdays... there is nothing left to do but to trust and to wait.

In this past week's particular trusting and waiting, these words from Psalm 139 have been a balm for my aching heart...
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.
Your thoughts - how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them! I couldn’t even begin to count them - any more than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!
Ah, yes! All the days of our dearly beloved's life have been prepared by God before he'd even lived one day. I came to be reminded that he isn't only a dearly beloved one of ours, he is God's dearly beloved child, his name inscribed in the palm of God's hand... what beautiful truth! 

And the reality of Sunday a-coming gives me Hope... because in Jesus, there is always Hope! 

And in that Hope, we are commanded to live as resurrection people. 
Our task in the present is to live as resurrection people in between Easter and the final day. ~ N.T. Wright.
So we do just that. We trust as we wait. We hope for what seems impossible.

We reminisce and rejoice... of our dearly beloved who is always good-natured, joyful and happy, who is content to live a simple life, who is radically generous, who is uncomplicated, who is unconcerned about fame and wealth and status, who understands and lives this truth... “So the last will be first, and the first will be last. (Matthew 20:16)

We give thanks for a life well-lived and pray for the grace of more time on this earth with him.

And in the living out our life this way, as people of the resurrection, even as we still wait... peace comes.

Just as Jesus said, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)"

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
On the eve of Resurrection Sunday...
We get that first bit of good news. Our dearly beloved one is breathing more and more on his own again. There's even talk of perhaps being discharged from Intensive Care Unit in the coming days!

A glimmer of hope. A flicker of light getting ready to break through the darkness. Joy!

I think... much just like how it was on that very first Resurrection Sunday!
The holy grail of joy's not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the messy, piercing ache of wondrous now, joy might be - unbelievably - possible! The only place we need see before we die, is this place of seeing God, here and now. ~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.

Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

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