Mistaking Jesus

Apr. 12, 2012

Luke 24:13-16

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

It’s Sunday, the first Easter and Luke’s gospel gives us another witness account of the risen Savior. Called “The Walk to Emmaus,” this story is about two men who were followers. Cleopas and an unnamed man were close to Jesus for their grief is great.

Maybe Cleopas and his friend went to Jerusalem during the Passover, expecting great things. Maybe they were part of the crowd that welcomed him on Palm Sunday. What they never expected is that a short week later, their friend was dead.

Earlier in Luke’s gospel, Jesus sent out 72 followers to share the news of him in various villages. Possibly, these two men were part of the 72. They know the 12 disciples. Maybe they had spent Friday, Saturday and even Sunday with 11. They knew the women found the tomb empty early Sunday morning. But they don’t believe the women. Feeling lost, sad and unsure what to do next, they return to their hometown.

Emmaus isn’t far from Jerusalem; just seven miles. Imagine a location about seven miles from your home and walking it with a friend. With two long hours to talk, their conversation continued around the mysterious events of the last few days. Let’s imagine their conversation:

Cleopas: “How could God let this happen? Why didn’t God stop this?

His friend: “God can’t be all powerful.”

Cleopas: “It just doesn’t make sense. Why did we give up a couple years to follow Jesus if he really wasn’t the Messiah?”

His friend: “Makes you feel kind of stupid, doesn’t it?”

Pretty soon, there is a stranger walking with them. But they did not recognize him. For several miles, Jesus walks and talks with these two followers but they never figure out who he is.

Early Easter morning, Mary Magdalene sees Jesus but doesn’t recognize him. John’s gospel tells us she thought he was a gardener. Here, the two men think he is a stranger. This story makes me wonder how often Jesus put someone in my life to minister to me, to give me advice, to assist me … and I never recognized them as being placed by Jesus. Sometimes we see only what we want to see and we miss something important. Jesus often shows up completely different from what we expect, well disguised.

Jesus comes to us in many different ways, in various people, dressed nothing like we might expect. We get caught up in ourselves and our situations that we often fail to see the spirit of Jesus right in front of us.

It’s easy to be critical of these two men for not recognizing Jesus. Funny thing is; I’m not sure I would have recognized him either.

Let us pray: On the day of resurrection to Emmaus we return; while confused, amazed and frightened, Jesus comes to us unknown.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

Believing the Women

Apr. 11, 2012

Luke 24:9-12

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joann, May the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

I just have to say it. The disciples didn’t listen to the women. What has changed in the last 2,000 years? (Sorry guys as I offended you.)

Who do we listen to? When your doctor makes a clear suggestion, do you listen? When your child or grandchild pleads with you, do you listen? When your significant other shares some seemingly important information to them, does it do more than roll out the other ear?

Peter makes an effort. He is curious enough that he checks out the tomb. He doesn’t quite believe the women but he sees for himself the empty tomb. The whole situation just doesn’t make sense to him.

When a trial happens, witnesses are often the key players. Verifying a story or providing observed information is huge. We have women who witnessed something and yet the people most likely to believe them don’t believe them. How would that make you feel?

The Apostle Paul writes that over 500 people witnessed the risen Christ. If you have ever felt a small warming in your heart in God’s presence, you have witnessed the risen Christ. If someone you know professes to have witnessed the risen Christ in their lives, they are a witness. We can rattle off many, many significant historical and contemporary witnesses to the risen Christ. Yet, so many people don’t trust the Bible or are not sure if there was a Christ, a Messiah who came to this earth, who lived and died and came back to life. At some point, we will each decide whether we trust the witnesses we are aware of or whether we will think their words are full of nonsense.

If you are skeptical of the whole resurrection, you are in good company. Thomas, one of the 12 disciples, said he would not believe unless he was able to touch and see the risen Savior. Problem with this is we physically can’t touch and see Jesus since he has ascended into heaven.

There is another reason I believe the women’s witnesses. I don’t want evil, suffering and tragedy to have the last word. I want to have hope in something more, something beyond this world. I want this story to be real because I don’t want evil to have the last word.

Do I really believe this story? You bet. In fact, I’m counting on it being true. I’m counting on there being something beyond this world, an eternal place for my soul to worship God forever. That’s my witnesses and I’m sticking to it!

Let us pray: I serve a risen Savior, he’s in the world today. I know that he is living, whatever foes may say. I see his hand of mercy, I hear his voice of cheer. And just the time I need him, he’s always hear. He lives, he lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He lives, he lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know he lives? He lives within my heart.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

A Night of Rest

Apr. 10, 2012

Matthew 11:28

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

So, I missed doing yesterday’s blog. I had good intentions. But after a full Holy Week, Easter weekend and a large funeral yesterday, I was wiped out. A nap won out over the blog. After the nap, every creative bone in my body was still tired. Just thinking of getting my fingers to glide over the keyboard keys was not working. Instead, I took a soak in the tub and let the bubbles surround me. No reading in the tub, which I usually do. My brain could not take one more piece of information or any more stimulation. And then I went to bed.

Jesus’ words may seem strange. How can Jesus give us rest? He can’t take a nap for us. Does he give us a well-time shot of energy? This is how I think of this verse. Jesus is like the safety net at the circus. You know, the net below the high-rope walkers or other acts high off the ground? It’s the net that catches the acrobats if they fall. The net is there to catch them safely rather than hitting the hard ground.

Jesus doesn’t promise to remove every challenging day or week or nail-biting situation. What Jesus does promise is to catch us and hold us safely as we journey through long and arduous days. When we feel burdened, we can offload some of our baggage into his arms and he will help us sort through it. The situations will still be there, but we can find rest in knowing we do not have to handle them all alone.

I woke up this morning knowing that there are lots of things to do this week. I don’t have our taxes done yet. (I know … I’m running out of days. The partially gone through stuff stares me in the eye every day.) There’s another memorial service this Saturday to prepare for. And it’s Confirmation Sunday! Jesus has a safety net all around me. I just need to trust in his desire to keep me rested and safe. The rest will work out.

Let us pray: Just a closer walk with thee, grant it, Jesus, is my plea. Daily walking close to thee: Let it be, dear Lord, let it be. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

Through the Eyes of Mary Magdalene

Apr. 8, 2012

Luke 24:1-8

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead! He is not here; he is risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered his words.

Imagine Mary Magdalene, one of the women, sharing her story. Maybe these would be her words:

He changed my life. Jesus, that is. Not once, but twice. The first time was when he removed seven demons from me. Others thought I was controlling. But he knew otherwise. He healed and gave me a second chance. People thought I was crazy for following Him around the countryside and for giving Him and the disciple’s money to live on. It seemed like such a small gift considering Jesus had given me my life back.

When his mother insisted on watching him die on that awful cross, I felt compelled to be there with her. Watching Jesus die was terrible for me. How Mary was able to stand there and not die herself is beyond me.

The men didn’t have much time to get Him off the cross and into the tomb before the Sabbath began. I and the other women knew which garden tomb Jesus’ body was laid in. We decided to go back early Sunday morning and finish preparing his body.

As the sun rose on the way to the garden, we wondered how we would move the huge stone rolled covering the tomb entrance. Much to our surprise, the stone had already been moved and we could go in. But his body was gone. We were stunned, shocked, the overwhelming grief back. We had to watch Him die … and now someone had taken His body? It was almost too much.

Before we left the tomb, two angels appeared. Their bright rays and light frightened us. Afraid, we bowed down. When they spoke, they asked why we were looking for a dead man. They told us Jesus was alive, that he had risen from the dead! We remembered his words, how he had predicted this to happen.

Once again, Jesus changed my life. I pray that through my witnessing and telling you about these things, your life will be changed too. For he is risen, Jesus is risen indeed!

As Jesus changed Mary’s life, I pray that he will change your life.

Let us pray: He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today! You ask me how I know he lives. He lives within my heart. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

Yesterday was Good Friday

Apr. 7, 2012

Luke 23:50-54

Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

Yesterday was Good Friday. On Good Friday 2002, I experienced one of the most poignant understandings of Holy Week. At the time, I was serving the Denzer and North Freedom United Methodist Churches. We had planned an outdoor Good Friday service at Jim and Karen Severance’s farm. Off the beaten path, we parked on a field’s edge. And after hearing the events from John’s Gospel leading up to the crucifixion, one adult and three kids carried a cross up a hill. The crowd followed behind and watched the cross put into a hole. Draped with a black cloth and bearing a crown of thorns, this service has proven to be a very meaningful.

The Denzer church is located at a country four-corners. There’s the church, the town hall, a bar and about a dozen houses. Just south of Denzer is a dairy farm, owned and operated by the Everett and Lehman families. Like everyone in Denzer, my heart sank when it was discovered that Harvey Everett, the elder Everett, had a brain tumor. Harvey was a very active and healthy 60-something-year-old man. By spring 2002, chemotherapy treatments had stopped.

I first met Harvey and his wife Ruth at Denzer UMC’s “Live Nativity.” He introduced himself and reminded me that although he attended the Lutheran church down the road, we are still brothers and sisters in Christ. I visited Ruth and Harvey several times since the cancer diagnosis. At one visit,Harvey shared with me a card he had received from Jim Severance, the Good Friday service host. I told Harvey about our Good Friday worship service. He told Ruth that they were going to go. I didn’t think much of it, as it had become increasingly difficult for Harvey to get out.

The week before Good Friday, Harvey’s health was questionable. But a determined Harvey decided he was not going to miss the service. The day began cloudy and dreary. By the 1:30 appointed gathering time, we enjoyed sunshine and partly cloudy skies. Harveywas positioned in the passenger seat of an SUV. After reading the 18th chapter of John, Harvey and the SUV led the march up the hill, followed by the cross and everyone else. Lawn chairs speckled the prairie grass and were filled. After hearing about Jesus’ crucifixion, we had an opportunity to hammer a nail into the cross, reminding ourselves that Christ died for each one of us. The last nail hammered into the cross was one I put there in honor of Harvey.

Moved to tears myself, this day on the hill reminded me what Jesus has done for me – that Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. And at the cross, Jesus died for my sins. At the cross, Jesus gave me life again.

At the close of the service, we handed out nails dipped in red paint, as a reminder to each of us what Christ has accomplished for us. As I walked over to give a nail to Harvey, he said the most beautiful words of the day. “Jesus died on that cross before I was born,” he said between sobs. “Jesus died so that I will never have to die.”

Jesus died on that cross before I was born. Jesus died so that I will never have to die. I’ve completed seminary, studied the Bible and read tons of theological books. But in the end, it comes down to that Jesus died on a cross before I was born. Jesus died so that I will never have to die. It really isn’t any more complicated than this. On Good Friday, a 60-something-year-old man, dying of cancer who just wanted to attend Good Friday Service on the hill, ministered to the minister.

Many of folks questioned why Harvey suffered from cancer. He was a person who always gave of himself. Maybe I saw a bit of the reason why.Harveytaught me that we never have to die. Because Jesus died, death has been conquered. Every day is Easter day because Jesus has already suffered and bore our sins. Life is worth the living because we know He lives. We just must choose whether to be Easter people every day of our lives.

Let us pray: Jesus to Calvary did go; his love for sinners to show. What he did there brought hole from despair. O how he loves you; O how he loves me; O how he loves you and me! Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

Then came the burial

Apr. 6, 2012

Luke 23:55-56

The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

It was now late Friday afternoon. Jewish tradition believes in burying the body as soon after the death as possible, as a mark of respect. With Jewish Sabbath began at sundown on Friday, there was not enough time to completely prepare the body for burial. Luke’s gospel tells us the women knew where the tomb was and would wait until Sunday morning to deal with it.

In biblical times, burial was often in tombs. Often more of natural cave, first century tombs were natural locations within rock structures for families to be buried together. These natural caves were covered by placing large rocks in front of the entrance to the cave.

Jewish tradition encourages mourning, and discourages efforts to cheer-up the mourners. For Jewish families, Shiva is a seven-day period of mourning. Friends and community members bring prayers, condolences and support. All normal activities are suspended in order for the mourners to fully concentrate on their grief, so that they will be better prepared to re-enter life at the end of this period.

Immediately after loosing a loved one, there usually is a mixed bag of emotions. You missed your loved one and yet there are various arrangements to take care of. While the women were dealing with a full range of emotions, they also want to take care of the proper arrangements and the proper burial. It’s a way for survivors to honor their loved one. It’s a way for survivors to keep moving. It’s a way for survivors to begin the long process of adjusting to a new reality of life without their loved one.

Making funeral and/or burial arrangement isn’t something family members look forward to. It’s often a lot of decision made in a relatively short period of time with consultation with various people. For some survivors, having something to do is therapeutic and important.

This is how I imagine the women. They just need to do something for their special Jesus. They could not reverse the events of the previous days but they could give them a proper burial. It was probably the only thing that made any sense for them to do.

Let us pray: We buried him, not knowing that on the third day morn a risen Christ would greet us and hope would be reborn. Though evil had extinguished the life that burned so bright, the love of God would triumph like dawn that ends the night. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

Remembering Certain Events

Apr. 5, 2012

Luke 23:47-49

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things. 

There are certain events that when they happen, you remember where you were when you hear about them. Events like when JFK was assassinated or when the shuttle blew up. Most recently, when you discovered the twin towers had been hit on 9/11. While you were not present, people can often speak specifically to how they discovered the news.

When people witness an event together, there is also something unique and different about being together for this situation. When the events are later recalled, those who witnessed this situation together can respond and share about it in such a way that if you were not present, you almost feel like an outsider.

We don’t know how many people were present for Jesus’ crucifixion. Because it spanned several hours, people came and went. But those who were there when Jesus breathed his last knew they had witnessed something unique. Why else would have the centurion proclaimed that Jesus was a righteous man? In Mark’s gospel, the centurion goes so far as to profess that Jesus was the Son of God. This is quite remarkable considering this Roman soldier was non-Jewish.

But listen again to how the people responded who witnessed Jesus’ death. “They beat their breasts.” Sadness enveloped them. Maybe remorse? Possibly confusion?

When I’ve witnessed something seemingly challenging and recall it later, my disposition changes. My face crinkles and I get a sinking feeling in my tummy. I don’t really know this, but I’m guessing this is how the witnesses felt each time they recalled those events later. It would not be a stretch to imagine those present as really only talking about it with other folks who were present. It was a shared experience that would have been difficult to explain to someone who wasn’t present. At some point, it was shared with others and this is how we have the four gospel accounts.

Today is Maundy Thursday, the day we remember the Last Supper Jesus had with the disciples. As we receive the body and blood of Holy Communion this day, I pray we can be thankful for the witnesses who observed these great events, who shared their recollections and for the people who recorded them so we can be a part of the retelling of these stories yet today.

Today is a day of remembering. Our faces should get crinkly and a sinking feeling should creep into our tummies as we ponder what Jesus did for us. It’s a story worth remembering and pondering. Thanks be to God.

Let us pray: Oh, to see my name written in the wounds, for through your suffering I am free. Death is crushed to death, life is mine to live, won through your selfless love! This the power of the cross. Son of God slain for us. What a love, what a cost! We stand forgiven at the cross. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

In His Last Breath

Apr. 4, 2012

Luke 23:46

Then Jesus, carrying with a loud voice, said “Father into your hands I comment my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.

Have you ever been present when a person died? Yes, I know this is a rather different question. But if you have, I anticipate that you can describe and recall the specifics of the person’s passing quite vividly.

In my role as a pastor, I have had the opportunity to observe people die or be with them shortly before or immediately after they take their last breath. I consider it a great honor to be with someone and their family in these moments.

When a person goes through the dying process, it is a mystery of just when the person will breathe their last breath.  Just yesterday, I was with a family that lost a loved one. Joan spent one day shy of four weeks in Hospice. For several days, Hospice workers and Joan’s family wondered if this would be the day. And when the day finally arrived, there was an emotional release. Tears, emotions and sadness pervade the day.

Crucifixion was such a public death that more people than normal could be present. Bystanders had already heard six statements made from the cross, with at least two of these being prayers. Jesus has one more prayer from the cross: “Into your hands, I commit my spirit.”

Once again, Jesus is quoting the psalms; this time Psalm 31:5. Before he speaks verse 5 out loud, we can assume he quietly prayed verses 1-4 in advance. Let’s see what these verses say:

In you, LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, LORD, my faithful God.

Biblical scholar William Barclay believes the prayer Jesus publically said is what Jewish parents taught their children to pray at bedtime. Today, parents teach their children, “Now I lay me down to sleep …” Jewish parents taught their children, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” Every night, they would pray this.

With this statement, Jesus shows us how to die. He gives us a wonderful example of how we can pray to release anxiety and give things up to God. None of us knows when our life will end. What we do know is every day is a day closer. I live my life knowing this could be the last day. We don’t know when our last day will be. It is our task is to be ready.

What can we do to be ready, to prepare ourselves? Pray this prayer every day: “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” This tells God we’re ready every day. It reminds us not to be afraid, but rather than we belong to God and therefore, we’re not afraid. Think about it. What else would you pray?

Let us pray: Now the daylight flees; now the ground beneath quakes as its Maker bows his head. Curtain torn in two, dead are raised to life. “Finished!” the victory cry. This the power of the cross. Son of God slain for us. What a love, what a cost! We stand forgiven at the cross. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

More than a Torn Curtain

Apr. 3, 2012

Luke 23:44-45

It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.

When I was about 9, my Mom taught me how to sew. I started with lines on pieces of paper and no thread in the sewing machine needle, practicing stitching. Eventually, I cut out a pattern and began to sew together pieces of fabric to make a hanger cover, a pair of shorts and eventually many other pieces.

For years, I loved going to the fabric store and looking at fabric. I loved to touch and feel the various textures and weights. I learned that cotton feels very different from polyester which feels very different from gingham and so forth.

Selecting fabric for my next project was a big deal. Once I committed and the fabric was cut, there was no turning back. I would take the bolt of fabric to the cutting table, let the employee know how much I needed and watch her carefully measure it. I could tell which people had a lot of experience cutting fabric and sewing. The ones who most impressed me where the ladies who could make a little cut at the appropriate place and then tear the rest of the fabric with their hands. It took experience and skill to be able to do this. Believe me … I tried it at home many times before I was able to tear fabric this way.

The Jewish people worshiped God at the Temple. It was about a 10 minute walk from the crucifixion site. There are many special places within the Temple yet the inner court is reserved just for priests. Only priests could enter this area and offer incense at the altar. The Holy of Holies was the most sacred area of the Temple. Here, the Ark of the Covenant was stored, which housed the Ten Commandments, as well as a jar of manna which the Israelites ate for 40 years in the wilderness and Moses’ staff.

Once a year, the high priest entered the Holy of Holies and offered a sacrifice for the Jewish people. After slaughtering an animal, he offered the blood to God to make amends for his sins and the sins of the people.

A think purple curtain separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the inner court. This is the curtain that was torn at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. This is a powerful image because it represents Jesus’ blood now atoning for all of our sins. With the torn curtain, God is approachable by all people. Because of what Jesus has done on the cross, access to God is available for everyone. A curtain is no longer necessary. We can now approach God all by ourselves. We can go directly to Jesus as our High Priest and he reconciles us to God, once and for all. We can no longer hide behind someone else’s inadequacies to approach God. Jesus makes God approachable for everyone.

This seemingly small detail is more than a tear of material. It’s a redefining of God’s relationship with humanity. As perfectly human and perfectly divine, Jesus becomes the only necessary high priest. When the wise men brought frankincense to Bethlehem, it seemed strange. But their gift is no longer a mystery because Jesus becomes the priest of all priests. He makes God completely accessible for you. Thanks be to God.

Let us pray: The veil is rent; in Christ alone the living way to heaven is seen; the middle wall is broken down, and all the world may enter in. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

Finished? What is finished?

Apr. 2, 2012

John 19:30

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

In John’s gospel, we’re told Jesus shouted “It is finished” as his life ended. He would have spoken these words in Aramaic. While this phrase is translated “It is finished’ in English, in Aramaic, it would have been one word. Emphatically Jesus shouted, “Completed! Finished! Done!”

Our definition of “finished” is much shallower than Jesus’ definition.

I am a list maker and I love to cross things off when I complete them. In fact, sometimes I’ll write something I planned on doing today and have already done just so I can cross it off the list! It’s finished!

Jesus’ understanding of being finished is not the same as crossing something off a to-do list. His words are not a to-do item. They are not a cry of defeat. Jesus is completing his life purpose; his reason for coming as a human being to earth. Jesus has completed what he started.

But what is the “it” he has completed? This is an important question because it gets to the meaning of the crucifixion. For Christians, the cross is a sign that says we follow Jesus. But what does the cross mean? For me, it’s a reminder that Jesus die for me, for you, for all of humanity.

What’s the significance of this? How does this work? Why did he have to do this? Quite honestly, I can give you theories and ideas, but I can’t explain it completely. We can read the gospel accounts and pull together Jesus’ reasons. Through metaphor, Jesus cites many purposes:

  • Jesus compares himself to a wheat kernel that falls to the ground and die. Jesus is the seed that will die but then can become many seeds.
  • On the last night of his life, Jesus shows his great love for the disciples when he washes their dirty, yucky feet. By doing this job, usually reserved for a servant, Jesus teaches the disciples to wash others feet and demonstrate love.
  • Jesus calls himself the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. This concept comes from the Jewish Passover Meal. Waiting for Pharaoh to release them from Egypt, the Jews kill a lamb and paint their doorposts with lamb blood. The angel of death passes over their homes and does not kill the eldest child because the lamb represents the eldest child. For Christians, Jesus is our sacrificial lamb. Just as the Israelites were liberated from slavery with the lambs’ blood, Jesus liberates us and frees us with his blood.

By combining these and many other metaphors Jesus used to explain his work and purpose, we find not one reason Jesus came to this world and die; we find a whole bunch of reasons. Through metaphors, Jesus helps us create a larger and more complete understanding of his purpose.

But Jesus’ life is more than a metaphor. It’s more than logic. The reason he came needs to become personal and emotional. Want to know why Jesus said, “It is finished?” Hold up a mirror. Look at the person you see reflecting back. The reflection you see is a sign of Jesus’ wondrous love for you. Stare at the reflection until you feel it.

On the cross, we find our brokenness and our need to be loved. When we begin to see God’s deep love for us, we see the world in the light of the cross. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” he meant all of these things and so more. What does the cross mean to you? This Holy Week, I encourage you to discover this for yourself.

Let us pray: It is finished, the battle is over. It is finished; there’ll be no more war. It is finished, the end of the conflict. It is finished and Jesus is Lord. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne