Archive for April 19th, 2019

April 19, 2019

Followers hit the wall

by Rod Smith

I’m intentionally getting a little ahead of my Midwest self because for some friends it’s almost Easter Saturday already:

Easter Saturday:

Easter Saturday, a little more than two thousand years ago, the first followers of Jesus hit the wall. His execution was complete; the corpse secure in a tomb and the courageous teacher was gone.

He, who had done no harm, who’d loved so intimately, lived so passionately, challenged everything so profoundly and, like none before or since, practiced what he preached, was finished.


There’s little doubt that depression and dejection hung heavily in the air for his followers.

They had traded all they’d had and known, to be abandoned by one who could walk on water, still storms, raise the dead but not avoid his own death on a criminal’s cross.

Then……..somewhere between midnight tonight (two thousand years ago) and early the following morning, Christians believe that Jesus, if you’ll excuse the cumbersome phase, stopped being dead. He cast death aside, walked from the tomb, embraced life in an eat-fish-and-walk-through-walls body.

Believe it or not, you’ve got to give it to them, Christians that is; a rebound of this nature from anyone, let alone their beloved leader, would stimulate celebration.

This pivotal weekend, Easter weekend, rekindles so much for Christians: grief, loss and grief, then exuberance.

Believers, of every background and representing every cultural extreme and every ethnic diversity in every country on earth will flock to church to worship their risen Lord and proclaim death defeated. On Sunday morning they (we) will greet each other with, “The Lord is Risen,” to hear in response, “He is Risen indeed.” What they are really saying is, “On Friday I was horrified at what was done to my Lord. Yesterday I grieved his loss. Today he’s alive and there’s hope for us all, so let’s have a party.”

Great things can be learned from Easter: deep reflection, acknowledgment of grief, fresh beginnings, unreasonable generosity and partying with abandon.

Let’s all do it, Christian or not. Let’s grieve deceased family members, relationships strained or severed, our possible role in the atrocities of greed, prejudice and plundering committed across the globe.

Let’s acknowledge opportunities missed and misused and deliberate to see the impact we have on others. Let’s evaluate where and how we are a part of the world’s problem rather than the solution.

The uncanny thing about Jesus is that even if you don’t, as Christians do, believe he was the Son of God, doing the things he said is still good for people. Making a fresh start with someone you haven’t seen in a long time, like a brother, sister, and an in-law who gets your goat or an estranged business partner, is good for the soul, rejuvenates communities. Reconnecting with people, offering grace, space to others, letting forgiveness emerge for your harshest foes, your bitterest enemies is a movement in the opposite spirit of what is expected. It disarms explosive, stressed or polarized relationships and empties our tombs of unbelief.

Call your debtors and say something like, “I’m canceling your debt. I cannot afford to have you owe me anything.” They might not deserve your generosity but Easter is not a do-or-do-not-deserve-it time. It never was, never will be. Besides, who among us can want what they deserve without experiencing feelings of fear and trembling? It’s about getting what you do not deserve. It’s about not getting what you do. It’s about grace, about being unreasonably forgiving, wildly extravagant with kindness.

Finally, celebrate your humanity. Dance with delight at the human capacity to reflect, repent and be revived. I’ll peek into my tomb today and do what it takes to clear it of resentments, self-pity, unrighteous anger and all else that keeps me from dancing. I trust you will peek into yours, find it wonderfully empty and join me in a rich and loud celebration.


1. View from our front yard, and. 2. A view of the south and “main” entrance of First Presbyterian Church New Castle Indiana…… ALL WELCOME…… to keep up with our events please befriend F Pres Church:

April 19, 2019

You have to see it first…….

by Rod Smith

The Mercury – Friday

If you want that healthier family, university degree, professional credential, dream job, or to travel the world……. you have to see it, whatever it is, first in your mind’s eye.

Possibilities are born first in your fabulous* imagination.

Once the dream or vision has time to germinate and gain shape within you, a shape you are able to put into words and onto paper, it has a starting chance to survive, thrive, and become a reality.

Every great achievement was first an idea, and this is the very private part of the journey.

Healthy people (of all ages) are usually dealing with several competing such visions and walk a tightrope of concurrent ambitions while having a lot of fun (mostly) while doing their part in making them happen.

This is just one small part of the wonder of being human: we are able to dream great dreams, break our dreams and desires and visions into steps or goals, couple them with the hard work of plowing our efforts into making them a reality – and hurt no one, including and especially ourselves, along the way.

* How do I know your imagination is fabulous? You are human! It comes with the package.


To the boys (young men) who have shared life with me for the past 21 and 17 years…… go, go, go, into all the world……let nothing and no one hold you back: