Murder on Easter Morning

Easter morning. 

The sun rises on a rolling hill in New Braunfels as worshippers gather to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus.

Yet as the dawn Christians  worship, a savage domestic drama unfolds within yards of the sanctuary.

Felix Antonio Nieves, seventeen years old, dies as the result of what news sources have described as a protracted domestic argument.

The accounts of the last moments of Nieves’ life describe multiple weapons–stun guns, a pistol, and the shotgun used to end his life.

What is shocking about this story?

7:15 on Easter morning?

The quiet neighborhood?

The proximity to a church?

Or the knowledge neighbors have that their neighbors include law enforcement officers?  That this is a neighborhood where people might feel safer because some of their own neighbors are officers of the peace?

Or again, that this neighborhood is within a mile or two of a police station?

Maybe.  But what shocks me is that in a protracted story of domestic violence, no one called for police intervention until a murder had already been committed.

What does that say about Texas?  About us?  About justice?

We should call the police before we load and shoot a gun.

Why didn’t they?  Why did no one call the police until it was too late to save one family from irrevocable tragedy?

The answers might surprise us all…if we were brave enough to face them.

Deserve versus worth

We can say we do not deserve what we get–either lottery or traffic ticket.  We can even get quite indignant about it.

And yet if we are to believe the Cross, we always deserve worse than we get. Death, plague, betrayal, are all the carrion birds circling the dilemma of our sin.

We do not want to face what we have earned in our rebellion against love.

Which brings us to our worth.  

We are by native value just pennies on the ground.  But we have been purchased at such an extravagant cost by the One who loves us.

This extravagant sacrifice is the center longing of every human love story–to be redeemed, raised, and transformed by a love that will not relent or tarnish.

That is Passion.  Death by crucifixion passion.  Resurrect us in His arms passion.


Look for you in every crowd

Words betray only the barest threads of love

“A mother for a child”

You must know I always

Wanted to keep the possessive

Pronoun “mine”

In our relationship

They took that from us

Let me see how

These tiny seeds of faith

Could move mountains 

Losing sight of light to find it

Time makes

Trees from seeds/

Holes in the arms of love

I look for your face in every crowd

And the pictures you post to the world

Of a baby I once held 

So dear, beautiful girl

So always, always dear

A million times

I tell 

The young man that I have

Fallen a million times

(Felt like it anyway)

A million falls

A million failures

A million times 

An arbitrary number 

Not as funny as bazillions or gazillions 

Arms spread wide to denote the bigness of the thing

God sent His one and only Son

…to fall like this?

Fail like this?

Criminal nailed to a tree?

His falling and my falling, so different

His fall just

To rise to life,

Me in His arms

What if 

What if 

Words in a bottle were

Worlds in a bottle

What if 

You and I 

Were strangers in a room

Filled with people

Just as broken as me

What if

There really was

A connection between

Calvary and cavalry

And one could be used

To summon the other

What if you had a child

You loved very much

Who would be raised by

One kind of

Monster or another?

What would you do

To save her?

What would you

Do to bring her Home


The Other Guys

i love the story of Peter falling into the water.

Oh, wait, that is right–the story of Peter walking on water?

Of all the accounts of Jesus’ miracles, this one most resembles a Mark Wahlberg action movie.

And then Jesus walks out in the middle of a night storm on the sea and they think he is a ghost?

Are you kidding me?!

And then Peter decides that the best way to test the identity of the physics-defying apparition is to get out of the boat and walk to him?

It all feels pretty sci-fi.  Until Peter looks down and sees “reality,” panics, and plunges into the pitch-dark stormy water.

There were moments in this story that were both freakishly exhilarating and unnecessarily terrifying.

Jesus does not engineer this event in the lives of Peter and the others simply to give everyone a good fish tale.

He does what he does because he can.

He does what he does because they need to see him the way he really is.

He does what he does because life is scary and dangerous and we all need to know that there is just this one Person who can fish us out of the storm and break the rules of physics to save us.

Think about the time Peter spent in the drink–cold, surrounded by heavy waves, dark, gasping for both life and breath.

Where were the other guys?

Shocked and useless in the boat.

People are wonderful, sometimes gracious creatures, but when it comes to drowning in the darkest storms of life, it is best to keep your eyes pinned on Jesus.

He can do the impossible.  And the impossible is what we all need–hope in the storm, life after death…

Walking on water.

strong drink

when the King arises

He runs to us

These words, weapons, shields

Tokens of splendor 

Silver refined in the crucible

(For what is crucible but a fancy word for Cross?)

Gold fired seven

Times this burning

Brighter than the sun

Distill this ghost of a man

Standing close to a lone Word

Strong enough

To call him from the grave

Back to life

Pictures in the wind

I have a tennis ball, Gatorade bottle top, and an ailing succulent in front of my house.

For three very different reasons I will need to move them soon.  I haven’t yet because I am lazy.

Lazy, and prone to markers in the wind.

Leaves fall and God says I love you.

Rubber bands, hair bands, flossers, and pennies are flotsam God sends to us in the unlikeliest of places–I love you.

Considering that we are puny and mean and He is the God of the infinite universe, His extravagant love notes are bewildering and lovely.

People can be love notes as well.  The baby singing in the car, children building sand castles, anyone doing anything brave and true–I love you.

Do you know He loves you?  Do you look for signs of Him in the world?

To paraphrase the famous conversation from The Count of Monte Cristo–even if you don’t believe in Him, He believes in you.