The two words on the outside of the roughly-made card caught my attention but the inside message made me think.
I was going through more of the things we moved out of Lisa’s apartment after her death. I had come to her cards. In spite of clumsy cutting and pasting ability and even poorer drawing skills, Lisa still loved to make seasonal cards for a special group of people. Some of you reading this have received one of her hand-made cards. Lisa always took time thinking through just the right message and how she could use her limited abilities to illustrate it.
It was her 2000 Easter card I didn’t remember that literally took my breath away and reminded me how Easter truth has and should continue to impact my life.
Spring Up! was all it said on the front. It’s what we all think about doing, especially as we are tired of the rain, snow, cold weather, and its capricious attack on the expected seasons of our lives. The hand-written invitation evoked images of my jumping up on a sun-soaked day with great energy and excitement. My vision included bursts of green shoots poking through our gardens. I began to see landscape changes that would soothe and invigorate with green and color and life.
I didn’t remember nor was I prepared for the inside message. It was all Lisa in her innocent, child-like expression. Spring Up! That's what Jesus did!
Resurrection truth in four words. Command and invitation married in hope. Present and future reality seamlessly expressed.
If Easter teaches us anything it teaches us that there are no tombs God cannot open. Life springs up at the command of God’s life-giving word.
Of course I think of it in connection with Lisa. I joy in images of her unlimited movement in a jump she could never have safely maneuvered in her too-limited body. I find comfort that freedom, energy, and pure life have become her inheritance. I know that she followed Jesus in her spring-up journey from this life. Yes, Lisa, the very words you colored on a simple card have become your reality and my heart sings because of its truth.
However, I also read those words for me, now. Spring Up! Debbie. There is nothing to keep you from an abandoned leap into what God has prepared. There are no locked doors to living his will. No heavy stones block my exit into the life he has prepared me to live here and now.
I must ask myself the hard questions: What keeps me in a tomb. What keeps me behind a closed door? What keeps me buried like a seed? Whose command am I listening to? Whose voice do I hear first? The good news of Easter is that God has issued an all-play invitation to Spring Up! This isn’t a mandate to weed the garden or spring clean the house. This is a riotous invitation from the One who holds the keys to everything locked. This is an impassioned cry to leave everything dark and closed and take a leap of faith into unrestrained obedience. This is the joyous call from our God of unfailing love to share his joy for life in its utter abundance and unlimited availability.
Whatever you do, do not put away Easter as a day that has passed for another year. Instead, hear the invitation as Lisa has so succinctly and profoundly articulated:
Spring up! That's what Jesus did!
Our world waits to see what difference Easter makes. We have to show them.