Tag Archives: Christ

Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life. ~S.D. Gordon


Easter Eggs Hidden in CrocusI’ve always loved Easter, a joyous season when the earth is reborn in a swell of new life washed with vibrant color, a time of spiritual and physical renewal. I can’t imagine Christ’s resurrection taking place at any other time of year. This is most fitting. As a six-year-old recently returned from an early childhood spent in Taiwan, I delighted in my first egg hunt in a neighbor’s yard filled with blooming crocus and daffodils. Tucked in the green grass and among those shining blossoms were the many-colored eggs, like hidden jewels. Magical. And chocolate rabbits. I was in awe of an American Easter.

Nostalgic Easter PhotographOf course, in those days little girls wore hats and gloves and crinolines under their Easter dresses. Yes, I was born in the 1800’s. I also received my first white Bible on Easter, which is still my favorite one. It had this new book smell and books were quite special back then because my father was an underpaid English professor and we were poor. I just liked smelling my new Bible, but did eventually read much of it. The names of my favorite Sunday School teachers are inked in the front under the section entitled Friends at Church. I must have been a real nerd not to have any children listed. Actually, I know I was.

Another early Easter memory is our family returning home from church and me climbing from the car to bury my face in a golden clump of daffodils by the back doorstep, beaded with rain. Their sweet scent said spring to me. And new life. I always imagined the tomb where Christ was buried and rose again surrounded by daffodils and crocus.

“For I remember it is Easter morn,
And life and love and peace are all new born.”  ~Alice Freeman Palmer

“Let the resurrection joy lift us from loneliness and weakness and despair to strength and beauty and happiness.”  ~Floyd W. Tomkins

“It is the hour to rend thy chains,
The blossom time of souls.”  ~Katherine Lee Bates

When Bad Things Happen to Good People–Beth Trissel


trees flowering in our yard“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses.” ~Colette

“The sorrow which has no vent in tears may make other organs weep.”  ~Henry Maudsley

(Blooming trees and new leaves in our yard)

Dove, Bird, Flying, White, Spirituality, Symbols Of Peace, Wing,Yesterday, my sister-in-law Catarina (my husband’s brother’s wife) an indomitable woman I’ve known since I was a teenager and always thought would live to be 100,  passed away suddenly from a ruptured aneurysm in her brain. The surgery performed to prevent this fatal outcome (involving a stint) was pronounced a triumph, but something went terribly wrong not many hours after.  We do not yet know why and await word from the autopsy. But for whatever reason, she’s taken from her loved ones and is in heaven now. It’s those left behind who suffer and deeply mourn her loss.

I feel especially sad for her grandbabies and the many children this motherly woman has cared for over the years in her home and her ministries with the little ones at our church.  Being a pensive soul, I’ve found some good quotes and books that may offer comfort in a hurting world. This has been an especially horrific week in America with the bombs at the Boston Marathon and explosion at the fertilizer plant in Texas.

Old Church 101“Often imitated but never superseded, When Bad Things Happen to Good People is a classic that offers clear thinking and consolation in times of sorrow. Since its original publication in 1981, When Bad Things Happen to Good People has brought solace and hope to millions of readers and its author has become a nationally known spiritual leader” (A book quote from Amazon)

“Even hundredfold grief is divisible by love.” ~Terri Guillemets

“Grieving is a necessary passage and a difficult transition to finally letting go of sorrow – it is not a permanent rest stop.”  ~Dodinsky, www.dodinsky.com

“Many suffering people want to love God, but cannot see past their tears, says Philip Yancey. They feel hurt and betrayed. Sadly, the church often responds with more confusion than comfort. This current edition of what is perhaps Yancey’s best-known book should speak to anyone for whom life sometimes just doesn’t make sense. And it should help equip anyone who wants to reach out to someone in pain but just doesn’t know what to say.” (From Amazon)
Phillip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing About Grace, is also a wonderfully uplifting book.
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.  ~From a headstone in Ireland
“While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil.”  ~John Taylor

Angel, Cemetery, Statue, Tombstone, Cherub, Child, Stone, Grave, Praying, Church“Sorrow you can hold, however desolating, if nobody speaks to you.  If they speak, you break down.”  ~Bede Jarrett

Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.  ~William Shakespeare

Sorrow makes us all children again — destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest know nothing. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Images of: *Dove of the Holy Spirit *Stained glass windows in Episcopalian Church in Staunton, VA, *Ancient Mosaic of Jesus Christ in church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey *Angel Cherub Cemetery Statue

Christmas is Coming, the Geese are Getting Fat–Beth Trissel


“Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat, please to put a penny in an old man’s hat!” 

I’ve been known to burst forth in this traditional English carol whenever it’s near enough to Christmas to warrant it. Many moons ago when my children were small, this was my cue to joyfully anticipate the coming of Christmas. I don’t know why I happened on this particular song, though it’s a favorite from past madrigals and perhaps because we have geese.

I was horrified one year when my mother-in-law suggested we actually eat one of our abundant flock. I never sang that song in front of her again. She tried to persuade my hubby to catch one for Christmas dinner, but he was reluctant and it didn’t ap­peal to her to scamper after them alone, so that’s how the matter was left. The geese lived to see another Christmas unmolested and we had our usual turkey, not a bird I’m the least bit sentimental about.

Eons ago when our son was in grade school and times were particularly tight, I suggested that perhaps it would be a good idea to give more hand-made gifts because after all, what was Christmas all about? Wasn’t it enough to focus on the wonder and  true meaning of Christmas? To sing carols, pop popcorn, read stories, make paper chains…simplify.  In other words, “We don’t have much money, son.”

He regarded me impassively for a moment, then said, “You could get a job and we’d have more money.”

I was taken aback. “But my job is being here on the farm with you and Daddy and your sister(s).  Who would take care of you and the house and do all I do, if I weren’t here? You’d rather have Mommy here than more money for mere gifts, surely?”

He considered this reasoning, got out the calculator and the Christmas wish book and proceeded to tally up the desired items. He then presented me with his estimated cost. How I wanted to handle it was up to me, but here was his projected budget.

I cast my mind back to when I was a mere nine, sensitive, humble in my expectations and grateful for whatever I received. There was the one moment when an “Is that all?” slipped out of my mouth, but that’s the only ingratitude I can remember.

I’m glad to say my son has grown into a fine young man with a family of his own and is appreciative of all I did as his stay-at-home crazy writer/gardener mom.  All three of my children are, and now the grandbabies are excited to come visit and find me here.  Little faces light up and they toddle to me with outstretched arms or hurl themselves at me for hugs.  Precious little people.

Christmas means being with family and friends, treasuring those times, and shared traditions.  This year, more than ever, I find  comfort in the enduring truth at the heart of the season, best summed up in the ancient words of the Gospel of Luke.  “And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior  which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’”

***Goose pic by my mom, our dog Mia under the Christmas tree by daughter Elise and my husband took the one of our daughter-in-law and grandbaby as Mary and baby Jesus in the Christmas program at our church several years ago. That baby is now three.

Get out the Egg Dye–It’s that Time of Year Boys & Girls


Saturday morning I’m going to an Easter egg hunt at my mom’s with ‘the Smalls’ in our family. We may freeze now that April has decided to behave as early March should have done. Crazy weather, but I’ve always loved Easter, a joyous season when the earth is reborn in a swell of new life washed with vibrant color, a time of spiritual and physical renewal.  I can’t imagine Christ‘s resurrection taking place at any other time of year.  This is most fitting. Although in some parts of the world, I suppose it’s fall isn’t it?  A strange thought, hiding eggs beneath autumn leaves.  Maybe those regions of the globe don’t have fall foliage. Let me know dear readers.

As a six-year-old recently returned from an early childhood spent in Taiwan–no autumn leaves there, but we had a kewl banana tree in our front yard–I delighted in my first egg hunt in a neighbor’s yard filled with blooming crocus and daffodils.  Tucked in the green grass and among those shining blossoms were the many-colored eggs, like hidden jewels.  Magical. And chocolate rabbits.  I was in awe of an American Easter.

(*Grandson Colin from an earlier Easter)

Of course, in those days little girls wore hats and gloves and crinolines under their Easter dresses.  Yes, I was born in the 1800′s.  I also received my first white Bible on Easter, which is still my favorite one.  It had this new book smell and books were quite special back then because my father was an underpaid English professor and we were poor.  I just liked smelling my new Bible, but did eventually read much of it.  The names of my favorite Sunday School teachers are inked in the front under the section entitled ‘Friends at Church.’  I must have been a complete nerd not to have any children listed.  I had plenty of imaginary friends… (*Beth as a wee tot.)

Another early Easter memory is our family returning home from church and me climbing from the car to bury my face in a golden clump of daffodils by the back doorstep, beaded with rain.  Their sweet scent said spring to me.  And new life.  I always imagined the tomb where Christ was buried and rose again surrounded by daffodils and crocus.  Which is not likely given the photographs I’ve seen of what it may actually have looked like.  Very dry and rocky terrain.  I like my mental image better.  It’s the spirit of the event that matters, so I’ll stick with it.

“For I remember it is Easter morn,
And life and love and peace are all new-born.”

~Alice Freeman Palmer

“Let the resurrection joy lift us from loneliness and weakness and despair to strength and beauty and happiness.”  ~Floyd W. Tomkins

“It is the hour to rend thy chains,
The blossom time of souls.”  ~Katherine Lee Bates

The Shroud of Turin–With Exciting Update!


Controversy has raged for centuries over the validity of the Shroud of Turin
. In a short post, I can only touch on the trove of information surrounding this sacred Christian relic, but I encourage you to learn more on your own.
(*Closeup of the Facial Image as it appears to the naked eye.)

Some of you may ask, ‘what is the Shroud of Turin?’

It’s a 14 ft. long burial cloth with the image of a man on the linen who suffered a violent death by crucifixion. Many believe the image is that of Jesus Christ embedded on the cloth by the vast energy released at the moment of his resurrection. Others regard it as an elaborate forgery.

Last year I rented the documentary from Netflix on Jesus And The Shroud of Turin; I’d become acquainted with the shroud years ago through the avid interest of a friend, but like many, I thought it was a hoax. However, after watching this film and reviving my curiosity, I’m rethinking my position. Whether or nor the film and new evidence that has come to light makes a believer of you, the history of the shroud is fascinating. (*Image on the Shroud as it appears in a photographic negative)

For instance, The Knights Templar, the religious order that existed for two centuries during the Crusades in the Middle Ages, took care of the cloth for more than a hundred years and kept it from falling into the hands of heretical groups that might have destroyed it. Anything having to do with these Knights interests me.

(Ancient Mosaic of Jesus Christ in the old church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey–image from istock)

There are many online sites devoted to the history and ongoing research of the Shroud. The main one seems to be: http://www.shroud.com/
To quote from The Shroud Website: ‘Modern science has completed hundreds of thousands of hours of detailed study and intense research on the Shroud. It is, in fact, the single most studied artifact in human history, and we know more about it today than we ever have before. And yet, the controversy still rages…we believe that if you have access to the facts, you can make up your own mind about the Shroud.’

From Wikipedia: The image on the shroud is much clearer in a black-and-white negative than in its natural sepia color. The striking negative image was first observed on the evening of May 28, 1898, on the reverse photographic plate of amateur photographer Secondo Pia, who was allowed to photograph it while it was being exhibited in the Turin Cathedral. According to Pia, he almost dropped and broke the photographic plate from the shock of seeing an image of a person on it.’  ***I thought this negative image that showed up in the photograph is one of the most remarkable aspects of the shroud.

http://www.shroudstory.com/
This shroud site says, ‘New Information: A team of nine scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory has confirmed that the carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin is wrong. See the Fact Check and Carbon Dating Tabs at Shroud of Turin Blog.

http://shroudofturin.wordpress.com/

That the original carbon dating may be wrong is an extremely important development because it had placed the shroud in the Middle Ages. Now, it seems the cloth may actually date back to the time of Christ.

To quote the Shroud of Turin Blog:  “Is it real?
Scientifically, we don’t know the age of the Shroud of Turin. However, we do know it is at least twice as old as the now discredited carbon 14 date. As for the images, we have no idea how they are formed. But they were not made by any known artistic method.

The Atheist, the skeptic, the rationalist must accept the scientific facts just as any Christian should. To deny that the shroud is authentic requires a leap of faith. So does affirmation. But the evidence suggests that it is a late-Second Temple era burial shroud of a crucifixion victim. From that, much can be inferred.”

(*The garden tomb in Jerusalem where many believe Jesus was buried. Image from istock.)

*****

Mita Jain is quoted on the blog as saying, “There has been a lot of debate about whether this was actually the cloth, in which Jesus was buried, or if it was someone else or perhaps if it’s just a hoax. Carbon 14 dating was done to verify the time of the linen cloth, and it was found that the cloth was from Middle Ages, ie about 1300 years after Jesus’s death. This dampened the believers’ spirit. But a follow up research, proved that the sample cloth chosen initially was a bad one because the cloth had been repaired in Middle Ages. The cloth also survived fire, and hence could have radiocarbon content indicating towards wrong age. Some people still believe that Turin’s shroud is a proof of Jesus’s sacrifice for the mankind. The others do not. I believe that it doesn’t matter whether the shroud is actual or not. Even if it’s not real, if it can bring some kindness and peace to today’s human race, then there is no harm believing in it. If it can bring out goodness in today’s world, then there is no harm worshipping it. The power of belief and faith can do wonders. After all, isn’t this what religion is all about?”~Mita Jain

(*Medieval painting of Jesus Christ in the Exeter Cathedral, Exeter, England. Image from istock)

In conclusion, all I can say is that the shroud is amazing. I got goosebumps looking at that picture. I believe it may be real, but as a Christian my faith is not dependent on the shroud being genuine.

This link takes you to a page where you can click on any part of the image of the shroud and it will allow you a closer examination. http://www.shroud.com/examine.htm

*Breaking News on May 2nd 2010

In an article released by the Associated Press,  Pope Benedict is quoted as saying: “This is a burial cloth that wrapped the remains of a crucified man in full correspondence with what the Gospels tell us of Jesus,” Benedict said. He said the relic — one of the most important in Christianity — should be seen as a photographic document of the “darkest mystery of faith” — that of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.~
For the complete article on Pope Benedict’s trip to Turin to view the Shroud visit this site:  Pope All But Endorses Authenticity Of Turin Shroud.
*** Someone mentioned a very interesting book about the Shroud entitled An Adventure of Discovery, by Mary and Alan Whanger~

“The story of Easter is the story of God’s wonderful window of divine surprise.”~Carl Knudsen


I’ve always loved Easter, a joyous season when the earth is reborn in a swell of new life washed with vibrant color, a time of spiritual and physical renewal.    I can’t imagine Christ‘s resurrection taking place at any other time of year.   This is most fitting.  As a six year old recently returned from an early childhood spent in Taiwan, I delighted in my first egg hunt in a neighbor’s yard filled with blooming crocus and daffodils.  Tucked in the green grass and among those shining blossoms were the many-colored eggs, like hidden jewels.  Magical. And chocolate rabbits.  I was in awe of an American Easter.

Of course, in those days little girls wore hats and gloves and crinolines under their Easter dresses.  Yes, I was born in the 1800’s.  I also received my first white Bible on Easter, which is still my favorite one.  It had this new book smell and books were quite special back then because my father was an underpaid English professor and we were poor.  I just liked smelling my new Bible, but did eventually read much of it.  The names of my favorite Sunday School teachers are inked in the front under the section entitled Friends at Church.  I must have been a real nerd not to have any children listed.

Another early Easter memory is our family returning home from church and me climbing from the car to bury my face in a golden clump of daffodils by the back doorstep, beaded with rain.  Their sweet scent said spring to me.  And new life.  I always imagined the tomb where Christ was buried and rose again surrounded by daffodils and crocus.

“For I remember it is Easter morn,
And life and love and peace are all new born.”  ~Alice Freeman Palmer

“Let the resurrection joy lift us from loneliness and weakness and despair to strength and beauty and happiness.”  ~Floyd W. Tomkins

“It is the hour to rend thy chains,
The blossom time of souls.”  ~Katherine Lee Bates