Why I can sing

Holy week began with a boisterous procession, the One everyone hailed riding on a young donkey that had never been ridden. How did he tame that beast? I whispered, “Can you tame the wild places in my heart that still evade my censure?” Palm branches waved in my face as he rode near. Then he was there, looking right at me, something of a smile, the smile of a friend who knows me, perhaps better than I do myself. And those eyes. Not laughing, but bright, intensely alive, looking deep into my soul and loving me.

The donkey jostled him from side to side. Clop, clop, clop, he passed by, me clutching those eyes to my heart.

That smiling face followed me throughout the week, glancing from the table as he broke the bread and lifted the cup, one last time with his close friends. Nodding as he washed their feet, as if to say, do you see how I’m doing this? The way my touch loves filthy into soft and new?

And then he turned away, into the garden, into the night of his despair. I could only watch from a distance, knowing I would betray him with a kiss every time I loved something more than him.

As the cock crowed he turned and looked at me again. I expected harsh eyes, accusing eyes. But it was knowing, painfully loving me deep within, in spite of my treasonous heart that sought the approval of others over him. As he was beaten and humiliated, I knew every blow was meant for me. For my sin. And yet he took it. All.

All the way to the nails pounded into hands that had touched the leper and turned his skin into purity. Hands that had broken bread to feed thousands.

I stood at the foot of the cross, at first unable to look up, dreading the truth of his look. It was for me he struggled for breath as his blood ran down the rough wood and stained the ground.

At last, strangely drawn, I looked up. He smiled! It was brief, but there in the midst of darkness and pain beyond bearing, I saw his knowing. Barely nodding, his eyes said, “For it all. I’m here for it all.”

Out loud, “It is finished.”

Did the whole world shake as much as I?

But darkness seemed to win again. How could I go on, now that those eyes were closed and all the light had gone out?

At the end of the waiting, seeking even the closed eyes and still body, hands that could not stroke my cheeks, I went and found nothing.

Nothing like I ever dreamed.

Nothing I could do or change or earn or even imagine into existence.

The heavy stone was rolled away, the weight of all my mistakes moved aside to make way for life.

There he was! Laughing eyes loving me, somehow even more, as if to say, “Now you can laugh at the darkness, too!”

“Now you are free of grave clothes, too!”

“Now you can be fully alive, too!”

And I will never be the same again.

That’s why I sing, “Hallelujah, He has risen!”

Spring cleaning

Easter in the Western Church arrived long before Passover this year. Until Constantine changed the calendar in the fourth century, the early church celebrated the Resurrection on the first Sunday after the Sabbath of Passover. I’ve watched several Jewish friends prepare for Passover by thoroughly cleaning their house of any leaven (yeast or mold). We can all benefit from spring cleaning.

My house always needs work, but I’m talking about spiritual spring cleaning.spring flower

If you are picturing endless, sweat-provoking labor, lots of church services, or a long string of do-gooding, stop right now.


It’s not about how hard we work or how much we do, how much we give up, or how much we suffer. If it were, all we’d have to do is join the ranks of those who have all the answers and preach, or shout, the rules for everyone else.

by Jack H Thompson, Galapagos, Ecuador

It’s about living open-hearted. Surrendered to a will far greater, far wiser, and far clearer than ours.

After trying so hard (unsuccessfully) for years, I’ve found that I can simply ask the Holy Spirit to direct my vision, show me any areas of my heart, mind, memories or emotions that host elements that can ferment uncleanness in my life.

That’s a lot of words to say the Spirit can show us what is hurting us, or has the potential to harm us, or hamper growth, or cause us to damage others.

The Lord, through his Spirit, has been very gentle and patient with me. Oh, so patient. (Amazing that I never hear, “Will you just get on with it?” when I take another lap around Mt Sinai, out in the desert, instead of heading for the promised land.)

And, the greatest news, He provides the power to change, once we realize we need it, and we ask for help.

With empty hands.
by Jack H Thompson, Jr
by Jack H Thompson
by Jack H Thompson

This is where we exercise some muscle. Our will.

It’s not a bootstrap operation. (Did you know that, “God helps those who help themselves,” is not in the Bible?)

First, we let go of the bootstraps! We stop trying to be “as good as” . . .”if only.”

But we do need to cooperate.


We simply cup our hands and catch the springtime rain of the Spirit on our dry, bruised or weary spirits.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matt 11:28-30 MSG