And in our own lives...
we often have a crucifixion
before we can have a resurrection.
~ Glennon Doyle Melton
Friday night Bert and I went out to dinner at
"Thai Cuisine," one of our favorite restaurants.
The owner, who is from Thailand and over the years has become a personal friend, came over to our table bearing the usual hot tea for Bert and water for me.
No one else was in the restaurant.
Very respectfully she said she was Buddhist and didn't really "get" this Christianity "thing," as she called it. Who did we think Jesus was?, she asked looking me straight in the eye. And did we, like some Christians who came to Thai Cuisine, judge Buddhism?
She almost whispered, just in case someone walked in, that she didn't tell most people she was Buddhist because they might stop coming to her restaurant. Did we possibly hate Buddhism too?
There, in that little hole-in-the-wall restaurant, I got to tell the story of what Jesus means to me and how I feel that all of God's children, no matter their religion, are divine. That for me the bottom line is simple.
The God I know and love and serve is inclusive not exclusive. That we are all His children. That He loves us and cares for us deeply, no matter where we grew up or the religion we have. For me, God's deep love goes past those differences and embraces all of us, no matter what.
We are all invited to the party. All of us. No exceptions.
While I celebrate Good Friday and grieve the death of Jesus, I long for Easter morning and His resurrection.
That out of hurt and pain and hatred...
love always wins.
Always! Love wins on Easter morning and love wins every morning.
I told her that we are all broken and hurting. We all make mistakes and are so far from perfect, but that the God I know and love and serve is a God of new beginnings and new chances, every day.
The God I know doesn't keep score of my mistakes (thank heavens) but loves me in spite of all my goofs and problems.
And then a tear rolled down her cheek.
I got up and gave her a hug. I told her that I honored her and her faith of being Buddhist.
I wished, sometime, that she might share with me how God works in her life, how Buddism feeds her soul.
She hugged me back and very quietly said, "I can see God in you, Linda. Your Jesus must love you a lot." She thanked us for listening and not judging her faith.
And then she left to go get our food order going.
I just looked at Bert, who was sipping on his tea,
and I started to cry. I've been doing a lot of that lately as it seems so many things touch my heart so deeply.
He smiled, took my hand across the table and said,
"I see God in you too, sweetheart."
I managed to ask between the tears, why life seems so hard and off-center sometimes. Bert, in his usual humble wisdom replied, "It wasn't off-center at this table. How beautiful to see two women share two different faiths and get that the commonality of each is LOVE."
He went on to say, "She walked taller when she left the table. Proud of who she is, her faith, and how God made her."
And then, in usual Bert fashion he said, "Ok, now let's eat."
And we did.
Happy Easter to all. No matter what you believe.
May you know that God loves you and adores you
and holds you in the palm of His almighty hand!
And all the people said, "Amen!" Just like this amazing song says, "His love never ends...and all the people said "Amen!"
Don't miss this amazing, Easter morning celebration song!
This Easter morning may you know in your
deepest heart-of-hearts that God loves you just as you are. Rich or poor, tall or short, black or brown or white, gay or straight...He will never leave you or forsake you. He loves you just as you are.
No matter how broken and unworthy you may feel this morning, YOU are His child are YOU are invited to the party!