Saturday, March 26, 2016

Make the Switch

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
—2 Corinthians 5:17

It was 1:35—for years. The hands of that old clock were stuck. It was time for a change. And Easter was the perfect season to make the switch.

I removed the clock from my living room wall and replaced it with a beautiful hand-crafted cross. I received the cross in exchange for a donation to Teen Challenge, a program which “provides successful recovery for women, children, young men and families with destructive, abusive and addictive lifestyles through mentoring, education, training and spiritual direction.”

The wood for these crosses is handpicked from old, discarded horse fencing from the Teen Challenge Northern Virginia farm. Cut and stained by the students, the crosses are a reflection of what happens in their lives. They come into the program broken, but as a result of Christ’s work in their lives, they become new.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Mezuzah and the Palm

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!
—John 12:13

I glanced at the corner of the door frame where I had tucked my palm branch under the edge of a mezuzah. I smiled at the juxtaposition of the two objects of faith, seemingly diametrically opposed to one another, the mezuzah of Jewish origin and the palm branch a symbol of Christianity.

My friend Stan brought the mezuzah back from his trip to the Holy Lands. As I unwrapped the souvenir and turned it over in my hands, Stan explained its significance.

Found in most Jewish homes, the mezuzah is a parchment scroll, contained in a decorative case, inscribed with specific Hebrew verses from the Torah, Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21.

Stan didn’t need to recite those verses to me, because I was already quite familiar with them. In fact, I had just returned from a writers’ conference in Atlanta where I pitched a children’s book built on the premise of teachable moments. I had included those same verses in the book’s Note to Parents.