All God’s Creatures Say . . .

April 5, 2012

We sing of all God’s creatures and His great love for them, yet we take that love for granted.  I am reminded of this great love just now because of a television program I watched while having lunch.  In this program, a small child was crying because a raccoon died.  She was a farm girl and her family tried to nurse the creature back to health and was unable to.  Such scenes and sentiment make us smile and think of the innocence of children.  This time it made me think of so much more. 

You know, I have a friend . . . Katrena.  She is at once both strong and gentle.  Her strength from the Lord is expressed in such an amazing heart for her Lord and she reflects His compassion in her gentleness and love for every one of God’s creatures, human or otherwise.  Katrena would have wanted to save that wounded raccoon just as the young girl on the program on television did.  She, too, would have likely cried when she couldn’t help the poor thing or relieve its pain.  

As I write this, it’s Thursday of Holy Week and my heart, soul, and mind are on my Jesus and His amazing love for us.  His compassion.  His suffering for our sake.  His death – a brutal death – so that we might have eternal life.  I think of this now, but admit that at other times of the year I do not always think of it.  The same compassion which made a little girl cry and which I see in the eyes and in the deeds of my friend Katrena?  That is how Jesus is!  He would have picked up the wild little beast and He would have cried.  Knowing this, please take a moment and ponder, if you will,just  how much you and I are loved? 

Tomorrow, Good Friday, we celebrate that love as we observe His death on a cross for our redemption.  Wow.

It Is Finished

April 22, 2011

It is Good Friday.  I’ve just come from church and as I write this I’m thinking about things and trying to keep things in perspective, but it’s a dark and rainy day and I’ve just returned from a service in a church that’s been stripped of all the trappings and left bare and plain.  I know that Easter is soon to come and that beauty and joy will return SPLENDIDLY, but just now I find I’m focused on death on a rough wooden cross.  I am wondering what they did with it after Jesus was placed in the tomb?  Did they cast lots for it to recycle its wood as they did for His clothing?  It was raw wood and surely stained with His blood . . . “it is finished.” 

I’m also thinking of my dear friend and priest as he spoke at church of the death and passion of the Lord he loves so much, and recalling the tears running down his face as he tried to teach us about this God-man who made the ultimate sacrifice for us.  I heard my priest cry as he spoke of this event that happened so long ago and yet to those of us who’ve entered into a personal relationship with the Lord know all too well, we are brought back to that event just now and to the knowledge that we are the reason he died . . . “it is finished.”

What do the words “it is finished” bring to mind?  Well, as with most happenings, words, phrases, and life changing experiences, the words mean many things.  When Jesus spoke those words that made my friend cry . . . that made me cry as well, I’m certain that Jesus’ mother and His dear friends watched and cried.  He was gone.  His blood dripping from his wounded flesh, running down His dead body, staining the wood of the cross on which He hung, puddle on the ground.  “It is finished.”

There have been many times in my life when I made mistakes.  Sometimes, I can or could make amends.  Sometimes I am so grateful for a do over.  Sometimes, I simply cannot.  The damage has been done.  I have, perhaps, been hurt, others may have been as well.  It can’t be fixed.  It can’t be made well.  It’s too late.  It is the way it is.  Somehow life goes on anyway, but brokenness cannot be changed because “it is finished.”

On the other hand sometimes I get it right.  I have a quilt to make for a friend.  I will work hard on it.  I love my friend and want to do the best I can on it.  When all the fabric pieces have been cut and arranged in an artful pattern, and stitched and decoratively pieced into something new and beautiful, I will smile and hand it over saying “it is finished.”  It will bring joy to my friend and to the granddaughter she will give it to – a new baby – a new life.  “It is finished.” 

A new life!  Like my friend’s granddaughter, we too have a new life.  We have a new life because God gave us His only son who became flesh and dwelt among us that we might have eternal life with Him.  Eternal life.  Not someday,  not if I’m good enough . . . not “if I can only make it a little bit further I just might get there” as though it’s a destination we can through our own efforts reach.  We cannot make it happen and we cannot be good enough, but by believing in Him we have eternal life because of what He did.  His thirty-three years on this earth had a purpose and it was accomplished.  His purpose was to die for our sin so that we might live with Him in His Kingdom forever.  “It is finished” but that’s not an ending, but a new beginning!  In the ultimate battle of life and death we have a choice to make . . . life or death.  I choose Jesus and therefore I choose life!

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