Friday, April 22, 2011

Was That a True Story?

Do you know the Bunny Book? When I was a little girl, we used to read this at Eastertime. My mom would get all mushy and teary-eyed when she read it to us. And now I read it to my kids every year and get all mushy and teary-eyed.

You see, Bunnyville was founded by Daddy Bunny Bunny, who loved his wife and told stories to his children. He was a wonderful artist and just a really good bunny as bunnies go.

As time went by, Daddy Bunny Bunny became Grandpa Bunny Bunny and then Great-Grandpa Bunny Bunny. He knew that he would soon be going where all great-grandpas go when they get old. But before he left, he made sure he passed down all his stories to the children of Bunnyville. And he taught them to paint, so that they could continue his work after he was gone. The little bunny children soon graduated from painting Easter eggs to painting all the little creatures of the forest.

He taught them to paint the leaves in autumn...

...and shadows on the snow in winter. When the mommies and daddies would take their walks through the forest, they would marvel at the brilliant colors they found there. The bunny children would giggle to themselves, because only they and Great-Grandpa Bunny Bunny knew the secret.

The day came when Great-Grandpa Bunny Bunny had to go away. All the mommy and daddy bunnies were very sad, but the bunny children knew that they were about to see Great-Grandpa Bunny Bunny's greatest masterpiece.

And sure enough, as the bunnies looked up at the skies after a rain storm, they knew that Great-Grandpa Bunny Bunny had been at work again. Never had they seen such color in the sky before!

This book has become even more sentimental to me now that we have our own grandpa bunnies in heaven. My dad used to do a funny thing when we kids watched an obviously fictional movie like The Wizard of Oz, for example. As the end credits began to roll, he would turn to us with a quizzical look on his face and say, "Was that a true story?" We would roll our eyes and say, "Daa-aad!"

Now when I finish reading this book to my kids, I can almost hear him ask, "Was that a true story?" And my two older kids would most certainly roll their eyes and giggle and say, "Grandpa! Bunnies don't talk!"

Bunnies don't talk, and this is not a true story, but I can't help but think of the best true story when I read this book. It reminds me of the art I see every day in the world around me and of the Artist who painted it all:  the first bright green buds of spring, the brilliant colors of the goldfinches at my feeders, and the beauty of the sunrise.

And it makes me think of Jesus when He was here on this earth. He used to tell lots of stories! And He made everything around Him beautiful by doing things like healing the sick, forgiving the hopeless sinner, and loving the unlovable. And yet, while He did all the wonderful things He came to do, He knew His time was short. He knew that He would have to go away soon.

...Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.
(John 13:1)

He made sure He didn't leave without first teaching his disciples (and us!) how to carry on after He was gone. He wanted us to continue His work. He prayed to His Father about all of us who believe:

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
(John 17:22-23)

And He did not leave us to continue His work alone! He gave us the Holy Spirit to help us in every way.

It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you...He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.
(John 16:7, 14)

And now, I can't help but pray,

Lord, you are beautiful! You did such amazing things while You were here, but You left, knowing that you were about to do Your greatest work yet. You took the sin of the whole world on your back, died for us, and then, stronger than death, You burst out of that tomb with glory and with new life for me and everyone who would believe You. Thank You for the Holy Spirit and the Word that teach us how to live while we wait for your next big masterpiece! Teach us how to be like little children, full of faith and the expectancy of your promise to return. May we be united together in painting Your love and beauty in this world all around us. And while we do, we keep our eyes on the sky, not just because You paint wonderful colors there, but because we know that You are coming back! Come, sweet Jesus!

Happy Easter!


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