Monday, March 25, 2013

step away from the basket

You've read it here a dozen times. You know this year, again, we're "Forgetting the Frock". Such a small step. I mean, really. Looking big picture, can giving up a dress on one day of the year really make a difference in anyone's life? If you ask the people at Feeding the Orphans, um, yes. Yes it can. They BLEW past the $13,000 goal and are now sitting somewhere over the $20,000 mark. Do you even know how many babies are getting food in their bellies because YOU bought a t-shirt?!

The amount of pride I feel as I watch this beautiful idea manifest into a movement is almost sinful. The Lord is so freakin' amazing and it's so cool to have watched Him birth an idea in someone you love and then see it unfold. Two years ago we were one of a handful standing in our church building looking decidedly different from those around us who wore Easter bonnets and all too much chiffon. This year, people in 20 states are stepping out on faith and wearing a t-shirt to church. So simple. A t-shirt to church. A t-shirt that feeds a baby, supports an upcoming adoption, sheds light on human trafficking and the damage it causes. The love of Jesus and the work of His church are spreading through something as simple as a t-shirt. Jesus blows my mind.

And this whole thing is awesome. It so is. But I almost feel like wearing my t-shirt isn't enough. Like, maybe, if we still tear through our baskets full of eggs and meaningless toys and fill up on chocolate before heading to church we might have missed the point all together. This is about so much more than a t-shirt. Forgetting the Frock is saying, "To me, Jesus' death and resurrection mean that I have life- abundant life- and my life is no more important than the life of a baby/child/teenager, neglected, abandoned, abused, forgotten by the world, but NOT by the Lord. James 1:27 says that pure and undefiled religion, religion God accepts is this: to look after orphans... So I'm putting my faith in action and taking care of orphans, even if I can just take care of one at a time."

Have you ever read something and thought, "YES! Stole the words out of my mouth!!" Jen Hatmaker somehow gets in my head and writes exactly what I am thinking. We would be best friends, I am sure of it. Today she wrote this on her blog:
What does this look like for us? How do we worship in light of this Savior? For it is past time we, too, turn the rules upside down and change the template. Broken and poured out, may it be. Oh that his people would mimic the cross in worship this week, bypassing plastic eggs and patent leather shoes for servanthood, responding in a way befitting the sacrifice.
What if we calculated the money we’d spend on new clothes, anything having to do with a bunny and chocolate, and used that investment for great good, pouring out for someone in need of mercy? Maybe instead of matching outfits from Dillards, we invest in family t-shirts benefiting someone’s adoption, someone's mission for Christ. Perhaps rather than time and energy spent on ourselves, we ask: “Who can our family serve? Where can we put our hands and hearts to use in Jesus’ name?”  Who in your city desperately needs hope but won’t find their way to the sanctuary Sunday filled by people dressed to the nines?
Now, for some, suggesting we give up the Easter baskets will be likened unto asking you to give up presents at Christmas. I'm not saying that, though we are skipping the basket tradition as Dane grows up. He'll never miss though, since he's never had it! I don't think the gifts, the baskets, the eggs and the chocolate in and of themselves are the problem. My siblings, though we are now ages 16-27, still love sitting around the table together and decorating eggs the night before Easter. It's a tradition filled with happy memories and love. 

It's when the trappings and trinkets of the holiday play a bigger role than the REASON for the holiday. When a momma drives her self crazy looking for little white shoes and socks with lace cuffs, stays up late dying eggs, gets up early stuffing baskets, rushes through getting ready and pressing everyone's frock and doesn't think about Jesus or His sacrifice until her butt hits the pew and the worship band plays the opening chord of "Hosanna". That is when we realize we have missed the point. I feel like that's when the Lord looks down on His creation and goes, "What happened?! I gave you life to the full through a gift with a cost so high you can't fathom it, and I'm second fiddle to bunnies, eggs, and baskets."

I believe the Lord delights in seeing His people give to each other. It's biblical even. Paul  says in 2Cor8:14, "Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal." It's the spirit of the giving, even the spirit of the gift that's given. I would love to see generosity at Easter like we see at Christmas. That holly, jolly spirit of the season that makes random strangers hug each other on the sidewalk, pick up dropped packages and help a friend to the car, buy a meal for a family in need. This should be a season of extending grace, of showing mercy, of shutting the devil up and choosing today to be obedient to our convictions. 

The Lord has lavished His favor upon Forgetting the Orphans this year. He spoke a word into the heart of one woman who was faithful to listen. Who went against everything her Southern upbringing told her and wore a t-shirt and jeans to church on Easter Sunday. Her obedience and seeing the Lord do an amazing work through this movement convicts me to make my own changes to this holiday. 

I am giving it back to Jesus

No baskets, no dress shoes. This year, Easter is a private sunrise service with my family. It's worshiping through tears the God who gave His life for me and ROSE AGAIN so I might have eternal life. It's putting on that orphan t-shirt as a reminder that in the same way He did not leave me as an orphan, but died while I was still a sinner (Rom5:8), He will not leave those children as orphans (John 14:18) but will come to them. 

Step away from the basket. Put down the shoes. Forget the Frock. Love ONE. 

No comments: