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Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Shepherd's Heart: Not even a shadow

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Let's start with a little irreverent humor I picked up somewhere along the way.

Three people are standing before St. Peter at the gates of heaven, where they have to answer one question to get in. If they fail, they go to the other place for eternity.

The first question to the first person is basic: St. Peter asks, "What happens at Christmas?"

The first person in line clears his throat and, somewhat proudly, states that Christmas is a holiday where a man in a red suit gives presents to children and flies around the world on a sled from his home at the North Pole.

Peter looked upon him and said, "I'm sorry, you have left out the birth of Jesus." With that he pulled on a rather large lever and the cloud opened with a chute to never-after. Heat rose from the chute as the proud man dropped away and was gone.

The second person was asked, "What happens on Maundy Thursday?" and quickly replied, "On Maundy Thursday folks gather for a great supper of turkey and sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie and they watch football and shop for Christmas."

The Saint reached for the lever and said, "You've got your Thursdays mixed up, and you, too, have forgotten Jesus," and he pulled, and number two was gone.

The third person stepped forward and a reluctant St. Peter asked, "Can you tell me about Easter?"

She replied, "Easter is the holiday that remembers a righteous man." St. Peter said, "Yes."

"This man traveled far and wide and taught and healed amidst a group of supporters and friends."

And the Saint smiled and nodded.

"But this man was scorned and executed and thrown in a cave, yet on the third day the cave was opened." And Peter said, "Yes. Yes."

And the woman continued: "And the man came out into the light, and if he sees his shadow there are six more weeks of winter."

Hey ... I warned you that the humor was "little" and "irreverent."

But we are confused when it comes to holidays.

We celebrate Halloween as if it were a national Un-holy Day. We treat Thanksgiving as if it were a national day of gluttony. Christmas is all about getting bigger and better presents and not much about the birth of the Savior.

And then there's Easter. What can I say about Easter?

The day that should outshine every other day on the Christian calendar has become yet another big money day for the department stores and discount chains. The day that is THE DAY of all days -- the day that we celebrate the pivotal event in the history of all mankind -- has become Dress Up Day, Colored Egg Day, Marshmallow Bunny Day, Fancy Bonnet Day, and so on.

The truth of the matter is this: Jesus of Nazareth died on a cruel Roman cross of crucifixion so that we might avoid the wages of sin -- death. But it didn't stop there.

After three days in the tomb He rose again in power and triumph. Death was finished. Undone. Dead. Period.

No bunnies. No eggs. No baskets. No plastic grass. No sugar coated marshmallow treats.

Not even a shadow.

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BOB G. STEWART, Columnist
The Shepherd's Heart