Canadian Mennonite
Volume 10, No. 09
May 1, 2006


Telling of the living Lord

Last month, I had the chance to worship with First Mennonite Church in Calgary on Palm Sunday morning. Within a few minutes of walking through the front door, I was approached by Art Janz, who welcomed me with a handshake and then reached into his pocket and pressed something into my hand.

It turned out to be a set of pieces to a wooden puzzle he had made himself. I just wasn’t to play with it during the sermon, he told me with a smile. Good advice, I responded. Since I was preaching that morning, it was even better advice than he thought!

Pastor Marv Thiessen told me later that pretty much every visitor who walks through their doors gets a puzzle from Art. I don’t think I’m giving too much away to future newcomers to First Calgary to say the puzzle makes a cross when you assemble it. In fact, there was a big clue right on the puzzle: a small cross and “John 3:16” were inked onto on of the larger pieces.

However, for such a small puzzle, it took an embarrassingly long time to figure out how to match it up. Even though I knew what the end result would be, I moved the pieces around and around, and couldn’t make anything other than abstract wood patterns. I thought it might be a candle for a while, despite the picture of the cross on the wood, because that’s the only shape I was sort of getting. Upon my return home, the puzzle sat on our diningroom table for a few days while my wife and I worked on it from time to time. Then one day I entered the dining room and, lo and behold, I found the completed cross on the table—thanks to her.

Now that we are living in the joy of the Easter season, it’s an especially good time to be thinking about empty crosses. Two images have stayed with me out of this.

On the giving side, there is the spiritual discipline of being a cross-bearer. We all need to have something from Jesus’ message in our pockets, ready to have at hand when we meet someone new. Telling others of the living Lord is our joy and our responsibility as Christians.
On the receiving end is the story of assembling a cross out of the fragments we have been given.

We know the story. Our Lord has risen! The kingdom of heaven awaits us. The power of God over sin and death has been proven. But we have to keep putting the pieces together through daily obedience. So often we see God’s salvation plan only in half-assembled pieces.

Like the disciples walking to Emmaus on the day we now know as Easter Sunday, we have a hard time seeing that salvation story even when it is right in front of us.

As we read in Luke 24, “They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the Scriptures to us?’ That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.’”

Thank you, Art, for telling me about the risen Lord in your way. Yes, he has risen indeed!

—Tim Miller Dyck

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