|(L) My friend, Dan (R) Jamie|
Allow me to introduce you to my dear friend, spiritual mentor, and former Pastor, Jamie Miller! If you read the post, “Sweet Things” a few weeks ago by Gretchen Miller I suspect by now you’re connecting the dots they are husband and wife! They are so dear to me. God used them to help shape my heart understanding of who Christ is, and how He loves me. They serve college students (and any person they meet at any age!) through Consumed Ministries. Jamie is also the author of the great book, “Fully Alive”. I’m honored to share Jamie’s words with you today.
I currently have one tattoo on the inside of my left arm. If
I ever decide to give that tattoo some company I already know what I would have
permanently inked into my skin. Most followers of Jesus I know that have a
faith-based tattoo have some form of the cross as either the entire art form or
part of it. I obviously appreciate the cross and will celebrate the victory
from sin and access to God as Father as a result of Jesus’ sacrificial death
this Friday. But if I were ever to get another tattoo (relax mom – no plans are
in the making), I would have an open tomb. I haven’t given the specifics of this
tattoo much thought beyond it simply being an open tomb. There may be some
clouds involved or possibly the word VICTORY
on top of the artwork. I don’t know. I
just know that for me, the open tomb represents the completed work of God. Not
only did Jesus end the grip of sin on humanity through His death, He defeated
death and gave us the hope of our own resurrection on Easter morning.
John, in the eleventh chapter of his Gospel, shares the
story of Jesus standing outside of Lazarus’ grave, who was one of Jesus’ closest
friends. Jesus was heartbroken over the residue death left on all those
gathered at the gravesite. Included in this crowd of mourners was Lazarus’
sister, Martha. Martha loved her brother very much. She even told Jesus that He
could have prevented this tragedy if He would have showed up in time. A few
more sentences were exchanged between Jesus and Martha and then Jesus offers
this amazing statement to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever
believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” This is such a powerful truth!
Jesus didn’t only say He can be resurrected or that He can resurrect someone.
He claims TO BE the resurrection and the life. HE holds the power of
resurrection. And then in a few short minutes later Jesus backs up that claim
and resurrects Lazarus from the dead right then and there in front of everyone.
I can empathize with Martha in this story. I too have stood
at the gravesite of my sibling several times. I remember specifically the first
time I stood in the German Ridge Cemetery next to Penny’s grave. It was a few
short days after her death in 2010. I remember it being a cold, February
morning in southern Ohio. The snow was beautiful but the chilly wind eerily
reminded all of us that death arranged this appointment. So where do you turn
on a bitter day like that one? What can provide any kind of hope when your
heart has been ripped out of your chest as you look at your nephews and nieces
missing their mommy and see the pain of a mother and father burying a child?
The promise of Easter morning is where you fix your gaze. You close your eyes
and imagine the warming sun on your face as you quietly listen to hear Jesus
proclaim, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though
he die, yet shall he live.”
|Jamie and Penny|
I could write of the many theological implications of Easter
and why they are so important. I could elaborate on Paul’s words to the church
in Corinth written in 1 Corinthians 15. But for me, Easter is special because I
know that since The Resurrection and the Life rose from the grave on that Sunday
morning long ago, I will see my sister Penny again one day. I will see her
face, hear her laugh, and reminisce of our times together here on earth. Each
time I go back to the German Ridge Cemetery I remember that Easter morning is
coming. Death does not have the victory.
word “paroikos”. This tattoo was done at Saint Sabrina’s in the Minneapolis
neighborhood of Uptown around Easter of 2010 to honor Penny’s life. If the open
tomb tattoo ever did become a reality it would be done on the outside of that
same arm. I could look at one side of my arm and remember the life my sister
lived. But greater yet, I could look on the other side of that same arm with
hope because one day we will be reunited again through Christ’s victory over
the grave 2000 years ago. That is the
hope of Easter morning. This is why I celebrate.