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The Power of a Face

There is great power in a face. When we have not seen a loved one for a long time, and suddenly we see them once again, perhaps at our front door, or in the middle of a crowded airport, just the sight of their face can move us to tears. The disciples had not been parted from Jesus for very long, but the parting was devastating nonetheless, because the disciples were certain it was the end, that they would never see Jesus’ face again. Then suddenly, they did see his face, and the sight of that one face changed everything, for all eternity. Listen for God’s word to you from John 20:1-18… Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.   So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”   So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, b
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Jesus' Seventh Word

“Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’ Having said this, he breathed his last.” Luke 23:46   In a sense, Jesus died just like everyone else has died or will die. A moment came when he breathed his last breath on earth. Then his friends took his body and buried him in a tomb. But there are, of course, some ways that Jesus’ death was distinctive…   First, Jesus spent the final moments of his earthly life praying.  Luke is the only Gospel that records this saying, perhaps because Luke had a special interest in prayer.   Now, I am not saying that Jesus is the only person who ever came to the end of his earthly life in prayer. In fact, in his prayer, Jesus is quoting Psalm 31:5.  The quotation was used as part of a Jewish evening prayer; the use of this prayer fits the evening of life just as it fits the evening before sleep. The time of Jesus’ death may have actually been the time of evening prayer, the ninth hour.   Jesus set an example

The Power of Darkness

Listen for God's word to you from John 13:18-30... “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’ “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.” After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he

The Power of Symbols

I was born not far from the home of Washington Irving, the author of   Rip Van Winkle.  Imagine with me for a moment that you are a modern Rip Van Winkle. You fall asleep one day while on a mountain hike and you wake up twenty years later. As you walk back into your hometown, you see twinkling lights lining the city streets, decorated evergreen trees in the windows of homes and shops, and evergreen wreaths with red bows on the doorways. If you saw all these symbols, then you would know it was around Christmastime.   Now I invite you to imagine a different scene. You are Rip Van Winkle, but this time when you wake up and return to your hometown, you see colorful eggs and bunnies in shop windows. If you saw that, you would know it was near Easter, wouldn’t you?   OK. Now indulge me a bit further and imagine yet another scene. You are still Rip Van Winkle. You wake up after your twenty-year snooze, but this time it is night. As you make your way back to town, you see children running arou