Saturday, April 03, 2010
Tiny yellow wings flapped in my pint-sized hands. The chick's little feet felt sticky and scratchy, as she pranced around on my palm, trying to dig her baby claws into new ground. I wanted to caress her, and I wanted to let her go. I wanted to stroke her fuzzy coat, and I wanted to give her back to the old chicken farmer. As a child, I was always intimidated by what I did not know, and forty years ago, a special visit with my grandfather to see one of his farmer friends was my first time to hold a baby chick and my first look into a chicken house.
The woods of North Georgia are full of chicken houses and chicken farmers. And except for their undeniable, diffusive, distinctive smell, chicken houses were an enigma to me until that warm day when I rode with my grandpa in his beat-up pick-up to visit a friend who had bunches of new chicks.
It was a bumpy, breezy ride of expectation and intimidation. I was going to hold a baby chicken! The anticipation seemed beyond bearable, as I sat in that old Ford that smelled two parts vinyl, one part oil, and one part Brylcreem. I wondered how it would feel to have cotton fluff rub against my hand. And I wondered if my fear of God's sweet creatures would deprive me of the possibility of loving one little bird.
Papa and I got out and greeted the kind, rugged gentlemen. He showed us one of his chicken houses, which was flooded with waves of golden color and sounds of peeps that echoed from the tin roof. The farmer took one of the maizey wee ones in his giant, sun-damaged hands, and we all walked down to a grassy spot and stood.
My chance to hold the chirping chick had arrived. I stiffened my arms and reached, as she was given to my care. War was on the minute her soft, wee self was placed in my palm. I tried to not be afraid, but all I could think of was the strangeness of her twiglike feet and razor beak. My grandfather's patriarchal voice kept saying, "That little chicken can't hurt you, Andrea. Let her walk around in your hand. Dont' be scared."
But, I was "scared." And the tiny yellow being grasped my awed heart. She was not happy and wanted out, so the old chicken farmer reached over me and gently took her back, while freedom and guilt covered me like a cold rain.
I left in disappointment. So much for fear-blinding love. My ten-year old heart felt failure. You might say I did not earn my Easter wings.
Today, forty years after my visit to the chicken farm, I have Easter wings; yet, they are not earned. They are not able to be earned. They are not earthly symbols. They are divine substance. They are truth. They are real.
My Easter wings are freedom, love, hope, faith, peace, mercy, and more. I received them through grace, God's unmerited favor. Jesus earned them for me. He paid for my wings, my eternal freedom. With His own life's blood, I am redeemed. I was purchased with such a high price, though I am such an unworthy one.
Jesus paid for my Easter wings with thirty-nine flogs from the cruel cat of nine tails; a crown of thorns that ever so painfully pierced through His submitted scalp; many abusive voices of prejudice, ridicule, and violence against His innocence; soldiers' saliva on His divine face; bruising blows that beat His humble body beyond identity; a heavy, half-mile walk of stones, spit, and dreaded death; six hours of unimaginable pain from six-inch nails, profuse blood loss, and slow suffocation; and six hours of dark chasm between Himself and His Father that finally ended in Christ's sacrificial death, as He cried, "It is finished" (John 19:30, NIV).
Christ's completed His sacrifice, then, hope was realized and fulfilled, when three days after Jesus' divine offering, our destiny was forever changed.
Divine life and light poured from heavenly dimension into Christ's cavelike tomb and into His mortal body.
With power and victory and truth, Jesus rose from death to forever defeat its hold on us.
Now, failure no longer means failed, fear no longer means defeat, sin no longer means sure condemnation, and dying no longer means death!
Because of Jesus' life, His blood offering, His sacrifice, His obedience to the Father, and His victory over death, I have Easter wings.
"Wings" are a way of flight or ascent, and my Easter wings are my source for soaring with Jesus. Abundant life now. Victory forever. And one special, God-chosen day, my Easter wings will fly me home and right into His arms.
Praying for you, dear friend, as you soar with Christ through Easter and the week ahead,
Sources: www.thefreedictionary.com, www.biblegateway.com, and wikipedia.