Easter’s Dawn 
  
On the third day, the friends of Christ coming at daybreak...found the grave empty and the stone rolled away.  In varying ways they realized the new wonder; but even they hardly realized that the world had died in the night.  What they were looking at was the first day of a new creation, with the heaven and a new earth; and in a semblance of the gardener, God walked again in the garden, in the cool not of the evening but of the dawn. 
                                                                                                                                            — G. K. Chesterton 

Washed Clean


Your morning shower can do more that cleanse your body. Retired Pastor Norman Neaves takes time to remember his baptism daily. “As the water is pouring down on me, I reach up and get water all over my hand. Then I close my eyes and make the sign of the cross on my forehead. ‘I have been baptized in Christ,’ I say to myself quietly. ‘This day belongs to him. I am called to be Jesus’ representative whatever I am doing and wherever I might go. Give me the grace, Lord, to represent you well and with integrity.’”

                                                                Ignite!
It is with Christians as with burning coals. If these are scattered apart, one after the other, they are easily extinguished. But, when collected together, the fire of one preserves that of the other, and the glowing coals ignite others that lie near.
 —August Francke .

                                                   God’s Promised Spring 

 Like winter, some seasons of our faith journey feel cold, barren, devoid of life. Will renewal ever come? Will spring flourish again in our hearts? Yet the world bears witness to God’s power to bring new life where all seems lost. In the early 1900’s, the St. Louis neighborhood of South City deteriorated sharply due to a stagnant economy, population decline and crime. Then Bostonian refugees started settling there. Thousands of people renovated abandoned houses and other buildings; they started businesses and brought skilled labor back to the neighborhood. As the area returned to life, the refugees experienced renewal, too — hope in place of discouragement, opportunities where none had existed, peace instead of war, life replacing death. When our faith is challenged by despair, lost dreams or an uncertain future — when God’s promises feel as dead as winter — real-life renewal stories are signs of spring. They testify to the resurrection God  has in store for us.


                          A Grateful Heart 
 
 

Thou hast given so much to me, Give one thing more — a grateful heart; Not thankful when it pleaseth me, As if thy blessings had spare days, But such a heart whose pulse may be thy praise.
 
                                                                           __  George Herbert

                                                    Learning to Repent
 
Just as we learn to read, share and play ball, we learn to apologize, right a wrong and repent.  Grace-filled parents, teachers and other adults can guide that process.
 
A young visitor to a national park took home a pine cone, despite the adage to “take only photos and leave only footprints.”  But the child — likely prompted by Mom or Dad — later thought better of it.  Opening a lumpy envelope from the mail, a park ranger was tickled and touched to discover the pine cone.  An anonymous note in childish script explained regret for “my decision” and asked that the bit of nature be returned to its rightful place.
 
Repentance is tough, but the caring support of someone more mature in life and faith can make it easier.  May we all keep learning to say we’re sorry.