By Martin | Wednesday, March 23, 2016 | 1:43 PM
Most everyone likes to hear a good story, not necessarily the ones teenagers tell their parents when they are late for curfew. The stories people like to hear have to be true, but with a hint of incredulity about them. A man in Australia had to be rescued when he landed in a tree, 200 feet above the ground, while paragliding. No problem. Happens all the time, doesn't it? Not exactly. This man had his pet Chihuahua strapped to his chest. They were rescued after dangling in the tree for five hours. I don't want to be hanging in a tree strapped to my Chihuahua for five hours. She can't even tolerate a leash for 15 minutes, much less going airborne.
The man was quoted as saying about his dog, "She always flies with me. She absolutely loves it." The Chihuahua went on record as saying, "I misunderstood him. I thought he said we were going 'parrot hiding.'" Well, I know I will never be found crashed in a tree from paragliding. It's not that I am not adventuresome. I have been known to ride the Lazy River at the water park and not hold on to the innertube. I simply don't want to be caught in a dangerous situation by moving too fast. That's why I had seatbelts installed on my recliner.
A young man in Missouri was accused of possessing a toad for the purpose of using it as a hallucinogen. He was trying to get high. Evidently the Colorado River Toad has oils on its body that produce psychedelic effects on anyone who licks it. The man was quoted as saying, "Oh, wow, man! Far out!" The toad was quoted as saying, "I toad him I would not turn into a princess." The man was arrested for not having a licker license.
Can you imagine the conversation he will eventually have with his grandson? Little Ricky: "Grandfather, I noticed in Grandma's diary that you were once arrested. You've got some 'splainin' to do. (He had obviously watched too many "I Love Lucy" reruns.) Did you rob a bank? Did you get too many speeding tickets? Were you caught cheating on your taxes?" Grandfather: "No, son. I got caught licking a toad." Little Ricky: "Uh, Grandfather? Why don't we cancel our apppointment at school for Show and Tell?"
I heard another good story the other day. It wasn't about a man trapped in a tree with a Chihuahua strapped to his chest. It was about a man hanging on a cross with the sin of the world wrapped around him. His name was Jesus. He died for our sins and was buried in a borrowed tomb. He didn't stay there. He couldn't. When Mary Magdalene found the empty tomb she wept. When she saw Jesus her tears changed to joy.
That is the story of Easter. It may sound incredible, but it is true. It's a story that has power to change people. Too many people are busy looking for this high or that high when all they really need to do is meet the man who was lifted high on a cross. They need to hear that story. They need to be able to pass it on to their children and grandchildren.
There is more to the story. There is a message for Christians. What has you entombed this Easter? Is it depression, anger, anxiety, fear, a broken relationship? It is difficult to tell the story as long as we are in that tomb. God can roll that stone away also. He can turn tombdwellers into taletellers.
That is the story of Easter. It is a tale of testimonies, tombs, tears, toads . . . and a Tree.