My brother and his wife hosted Easter dinner this year. The Man of Steel and I were in charge of only two things: picking up Mom and making pie for dessert. When visiting Mom the Wednesday before Easter, I asked what kind of pie to she wanted.
As a rule, Mom answers that kind of question with a deep sigh. “Oh, I don’t know, Jo. You decide.” But this time, her answer was swift and decisive. “Bumbleberry.”
Which explains why today’s recipe is for bumbleberry pie. Here’s hoping you like it as much as Mom does.
12 ounce package of cherry berry mix, thawed
1 cup rhubarb
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance buttery sticks
Heat oven to 425°. Put fruit in a large bowl. In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Pour them over fruit and mix well.
Pour filling into a 9 inch pie pan lined with a bottom, unbaked pie crust. Dot filling with butter or Earth Balance. Arrange top crust, crimp edges, and seal. Cut slits in top and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Bake for 15 minutes. Turn temperature down to 400° and bake for 30–45 minutes longer, until filling begins to bubble. If the top crust gets too brown, lightly cover pie with foil. When the pie done, place it on a wire rack to cool.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him,
“Sir, if you have carried him away,
tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”
I tore off the wrapping paper and couldn’t believe what my parents had picked out for my ninth birthday present. It was a book of fun crafts for kids. The cover consisted of shiny and blocks of bright blue and red, each block showcasing a perfectly executed craft project. Inside were illustrations and step-by-step directions for all 100 projects in the book.
The book enraptured me. I spent days reading through the projects and settled upon a miniature village made of milk cartons covered with paper, on which were drawn shingles, brickwork, and dainty windows. I gathered supplies for weeks and finally sat down to create a masterpiece all by myself. But the project was too hard. An hour later I gave up without having completed so much as a single building. The book went on the bookshelf and stayed there until Mom gave it to me years later when she moved to a new house. Paging through it with adult eyes, I could see the projects were too complicated for a child to complete alone. These were projects designed for families to complete together.
Whenever I read Mary’s words to Jesus (though she didn’t know it was him when she said them), that childhood gift comes to mind. She says, “Tell me where you have laid him,” referring to the body of Jesus which is not in the tomb, “and I will take him away.” Notice that she doesn’t say, “I’ll get help, and we’ll take him away.” No, she says, “I will take him away.”
Jesus, in all his grace, doesn’t respond with, “Really, Mary? You think you can move a dead body by yourself?” Instead he calls her by name. “Mary.”
Instantly, she knows her risen Savior. Immediately, she obeys his command to go back to her spiritual family and tell them, “I have seen the Lord.”
This Easter, many in our church body feel as hopeless as Mary did when she first discovered the empty tomb. For some reason, God in his perfect wisdom and timing, brought us face-to-face with a work of healing and forgiveness during Passion Week.
Though God provided us with an instruction book, complete with step-by-step instructions, the job to be done is far too big for any one of us to accomplish individually. Even when we study the directions together, pray together for strength and wisdom, and do the heavy lifting as one, this task is too big for us.
It will only be completed when we seek to hear Jesus speak by his Spirit into our devastation, grief, and sadness. When we instantly recognize his word and immediately obey his will even when we don’t understand it. When, like Mary, we cling to Jesus when hope beyond imagination appears. When, though we don’t understand how God can possibly bring beauty from the ashes of our ruined expectations and broken hearts, we boldly proclaim the glory of our risen Savior to a hurting world. When we trust his resurrection power and forgiveness to shine in and through us in the dark days ahead and praise him for the good and unseen things yet to come.
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!
For the good that I want, I do not do,
but I practice the very evil that I do not want….
I find then the principle that evil is present in me,
the one who wants to do good.
Romans 7: 19, 21
Last week, I decided to study a word from 1 Peter 3:8–12, the passage Pastor Tim was scheduled to preach on the upcoming Sunday. The word was evil which Peter used a whopping five times in five verses. But that was only one reason for selecting it. I also chose it because it’s a word I tend to attribute to bad people, not to myself.
Because I’m not evil. I don’t go around planning evil deeds to discredit others or hatching evil plots to take over the world. I’m a nice person. Just like you. So while studying this particular word would reveal much about the Hitlers and Neros and Stalins of the world, what it revealed would have little bearing for me. Or for you.
The strategy worked well at first. In the gospels, Jesus outs evil vineyard workers (not me) and an evil slave (not me and certainly not you). But then, Paul turned up the heat in Romans 2:9 where his list of slanderers, haters of God,…inventors of evil, and disobedient to parents made me slightly uncomfortable. Not the inventors of evil bit. After all, I don’t go around inventing evil. But some of the other things listed–slanderer and disobedient? I, and perhaps you too, may have indulged in a few of them when we were young. Very, very young.
Then, in Romans 7 Paul describes how he struggles to do good and continually chooses evil. He declares that though he wants to do good, the principle of evil is present in him. That was where my not-like-me strategy fell apart completely. Because Paul wasn’t just describing himself. He was describing me. Like Paul, I start each day with the best of intentions. I resolve to speak kindly to my husband, forgive people who are unkind, give the benefit of the doubt when someone lets me down, and eat only healthy food.
On a good day, I don’t fail until after breakfast. On a bad day, I’m holding a grudge before I can turn off the alarm clock. Every single day, like Paul and perhaps like you, I find then the principle of evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.
Paul’s words tore the blinders off my eyes, and I saw myself as God sees me. Evil. I am evil. The truth of those words crushed my heart because I knew that tomorrow and the next day and the next, I would want to do good, and I would choose evil.
I wallowed in hopelessness until I remembered how the Pharisees told Pilate Jesus was an evildoer. Until I remembered that though Pilate found Jesus not guilty, he delivered an innocent Man to the cross. Until I remembered that Jesus bore my evil deeds, and yours too, in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. Until I remembered why the Friday Jesus died is called good and not evil.
Because covered in Christ’s righteousness, God sees me and you and all who believe in His Son not as evildoers, but as His children who not only want to do good, but actually are good. Alleluia! What a Savior!
Comfortable and casual as our lives are now,
When Easter rolls around,
With barely a nod to Palm Sunday,
and Good Friday,
I wish for more.
I wish for fish on the school lunch menu every Friday during Lent,
For a Holy Week marked by children waving palm fronds on Sunday,
For hushed and humble communion on Maundy Thursday evening,
For no school on Good Friday,
For Saturday evening watching Lawrence Welk while Mom puts curlers in my hair,
For fitful sleep in my beauty crown of thorns,
For hunting eggs on Sunday morning.
I wish for the struggle of pulling on tights and a itchy petticoat,
For anklets and Mary Janes on my feet,
For getting tangled in a new dress,
For Mom combing my feeble curls,
For the glory of an Easter hat and gloves,
For a dime tied in a hankie and tucked in my purse,
Ready for the offering plate.
I wish I could go to church with my family,
Scratch where the petticoat tickles my waist,
Gaze at the stained glass windows and
Wonder if Jesus’ brilliant white robes were itchy, too,
Stand when the organ music swells us to our feet,
And with a child’s untested perfect faith sing,
Christ the Lord Is risen today,
Those Easter bonnet days are fifty years gone,
But the child within me still lives,
And my faith,
Now tested and imperfect,
Now internal and personal,
Rather than external and tradition,
Lives as well.
Clothed in Christ,
I stand and sing
To the timeless God who wore a crown of thorns,
Who bore my sins on the cross,
Who died so I might live,
Jesus, the Son of God, is risen
Fifty years ago,
- After a week that included school stabbings in Pennsylvania and shootings at Fort Hood, my resolve to educate the public about PTSD in children is stronger than ever.
- A study shows that as birth rates in our country have decreased, female ownership of small dogs has increased. I am so thankful for two children whose potty training escapades eradicated any lingering desire to spend my empty nester years cleaning up after small animals.
- Three questions I want to ask the women who approached the empty tomb and saw the risen Lord: How long until you could believed what you saw? What was it like to go from abject despair to indescribable joy? Could you sleep that night or did you stay up talking to one another?
What questions do you want to ask? Leave a comment.