Reverse PLOM with a Reverse Easter Egg Hunt

Are you familiar with the PLOM syndrome?  It’s where for various reasons, Bad Things happen, people shift focus on “Poor Little Ol’ Me” (that’s “PLOM”), the Bad Things become the only reality the person can see, and things go from bad to worse.  It’s often a very individual thing, where a person faces a series of failures or losses, until that’s all they can see, and their collection of Poor Little Ol’ Me scripts keep playing in the head.  The isolation of the current crisis is the perfect breeding ground for the PLOM syndrome on a massive scale.   

This crisis coming on the doorsteps of Easter makes me all the more glad that the Powers That Be recognize that religious activity is just as much of a social essential as groceries, pharmacies and medical care, because the practice of faith is the practice of active hope, and the practice of active hope is probably the best treatment for PLOM.  Maybe I’m just making up this phrase of the “practice of active hope” to concisely describe what we churchy folk do, but it fits well.

“Practice” implies continual effort—not just an occasional thing, not something we wait till we’re perfect for, but doing it again and again while we are, in Methodist words, “moving on to perfection.”  “Active” means it’s something we DO, and do NOW, not just sitting back and expecting “faith” or “hope” to happen like a sunrise, without any effort.  “Hope” is that light at the end of the tunnel, that recognition with the ancient wisdom that “this, too, shall pass,” that holding onto the trust when though things can be bad now, new life is coming.  I heard a great preacher focused on this theme with Good Friday in Easter in mind, who kept coming back to the refrain, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!”

So what can we DO to “practice active hope”?  My son was on the swim team, my daughter on the hockey team in high school.  Both entailed early morning practice—whether you feel like it or not—get up, go in and practice (and dad get up too to drive them in…).  Likewise, whether we feel like it or not, get up to “practice” this active hope—do the things that flesh out the connection with God and with others, even when we can’t get together.  And this is not just for adults, but kids too, as kids are also having their worlds turned upside down. 

Kids and Easter make me think of Easter Egg hunts.  I’ve been really struggling with how we might do one this year, as they’re a great, easy way for churchy type people to take hope and the church outside the walls.  I think I had a visit from the Holy Spirit recently with a little inspiration on how we might put together a REVERSE Easter Egg Hunt—and this is one that families can do themselves, or that churches can organize to make it even better.  Here are some thoughts:

Families still have to go out a bit for groceries and other necessities.   People still have dogs to walk, and on the nicer days, I’ve been seeing more families out taking walks together than in a very long time. Might we be able to turn these kinds of outings into blessings of active hope through a kind of REVERSE Easter Egg Hunt?  Perhaps “hunt” for ways to sneak a little Easter hope into others’ lives, that might be more about sharing the Good News of Easter, and might better reflect our memory verse: “Don’t do anything only to get ahead. Don’t do it because you are proud. Instead, be humble. Value others more than yourselves.” (Phil. 2: 3)

Read on for some thought, both for ourselves, and that may be worth sharing with other churches!

Keep being an EASTER blessing and share!

Rev. Jim Lewis, with other “Easter Eggs” at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jlewis21

Easter Surprises

How to do a REVERSE EASTER EGG HUNT: 

Either with kids or not, when going to the store, when walking the dog or walking in the park, bring your Easter Basket and “hunt” for ways to share through this REVERSE EASTER EGG HUNT!  

To plastic eggs, tape a YARN loop big enough to loop onto any car door mirror (or home door handles).  Remember to have your teams work with clean hands!  Attach a (decorated!) small note to yarn loop, saying something like—

A Touch from Heaven, even when people can’t touch!

To remind you of our Easter Hope—that New Life WILL come!

(remove with key or stick)

This Egg is as EMPTY as Jesus’ Tomb—even death can’t win!

From Neighbors who care at

TwinFallsUMC.org (or YOUR church website!)

A New Hope ~ (beyond the movie)

Kids are excited for a new year and getting back to friends and activities at school.  I’m excited when I DON’T have to write out a date to show how slow I am by still writing “2019.”  Kids get excited about all the possibilities of trying new things.  I get excited when I can find a way to get out of trying yet another new thing.  I can’t even type the right numbers into computers—I meant to type in “Matthew 19” to review the context for this month’s memory verse, and got chapter 26 instead.

My mistake was enlightening, though.  Just a few chapters after our memory verse at Matthew 19: 26– “With God all things are possible,” Jesus is already facing plots to kill Him.  I wonder, if Jesus was still thinking that “With God all things are possible” when facing such threats, or when they finally acted on those threats?  I’ve got to tell you, I really struggle with this passage.

Yet it is AFTER all the plotting, and even success in torturing and putting Jesus to death, and after Paul’s own bouts with torture and prison, when St. Paul reiterates the same theme “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4: 13).  After all, the Jesus who went through torture and the cruel death of crucifixion, just a few days later, rose again to life!  So while I still struggle with this theme, I must say that I struggle in faith, trusting that where my understanding fails, Jesus’ promise prevails.

There have been MANY times in my parental and teaching life, helping kids struggle through all kinds of challenges big and small (and when the kids have been both small and way too big!), when this promise has seemed so empty.  Yet the old proverb springs to mind “Hope springs eternal”—especially in the eager young hearts of kids.  Perhaps it is our job as parents and teachers to feed that hope, to point to the source of that hope in Jesus, even when Jesus Himself went through so much in His love for us.

Each new year brings A New Hope—not just as the beginning of the Star Wars saga, but a new beginning in each life’s saga.  It is both our privilege and duty as parents and teachers, and any with the opportunity to share wisdom with younger souls, to be “the Force” one might say, to guide others into their own New Hope—most truly found in Jesus!

Let’s not get bent out of shape and lost in struggling to write the new date, but instead get lost with eager young souls around us, in the wonder of the New Hope that always comes this time of year!

May the (TRUE) Force be with you—Rev. Jim

True JOY

While the song says “‘Tis the season to be jolly,” it sure seems to be the season for a lot more these days.  Networks and media outlets ever putting out more content, so products of the season seems to grow and evolve all the time.  But one of the continuities that seems stable as ever—and unfortunately, even more stable than the role of Jesus in the holiday named for Him—is JOY.

The cynical side of me says “JOY” has this staying power largely because it’s such a short word that can easily be shaped into countless products to be sold over and over again; maybe that, too is part of how God works in mysterious ways!  JOY is certainly a word deeply embedded in our Bible, so it is very much a God word—remember how “the JOY of the Lord is my strength,” and of course this month’s memory verse: “Always be joyful because you belong to the Lord. I will say it again. Be joyful!” (Philippians 4:4 [NIrV])

Perhaps JOY, then, can be our secret witnessing tool this season.  With it being such a powerful word both for the season and for our faith, it can easily become a part of any conversation.  It’s a powerful word, yet one that can also seem to be very elusive, especially for people who have lost, or who may have never had any real sense of rootedness, or purpose for anything other than an endless search for “happiness.” 

Ages ago, St. Augustine—who started out his life as a rich boy chasing happiness with plenty money to buy it. Eventually he realized and put the words into prayer, “our hearts are restless until they find our rest in You, Lord.”  Likewise, centuries later, a brilliant Enlightenment era mathematician named Pascal put it a bit differently to say “inside each of us is a God-shaped hole” that is never satisfied until we fill that hole with our relationship with God. So, that emptiness that many feel, often heightened in this season, is an integral part of the human experience.   It is a part of how God made us in His plan to bring us all to Him.

The nugget of wisdom my mom sent me off with when I left home for the Navy, was a short tool for how to remember the source of JOY—put Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last. That’s how you find JOY!  I don’t know how to wrap it up and put on a nice little bow, but consider this little nugget your Christmas present this year, and one you can freely share as much as you would like, without ever having to pay shipping!

Merry Christmas- Rev. Jim