The Final Word
When wildfires ravaged Paradise, California, in 2018, dozens were killed and thousands lost homes, irreplaceable mementos and personal connections. School, work and church routines were upended.
If life has both “cross-like times” and “resurrection-like times,” as a pastor once said, this certainly was a cross-like time. But God never lets death, sorrow or suffering have the final say. To bring light to dark times, God works through countless good-hearted helpers.
One was 90-year-old Bob Wilson, a Los Angeles man who quickly decided to give people he’d never met “something ... [to] lift their spirits.” That “something” was a $1,000 handwritten check for each of the 1,085 students and staff members at Paradise High School. The checks, which came with no restrictions, were presented at a gathering that felt healing to many.
Cross and resurrection times are interwoven in this life, but the cross doesn’t win. One day, God promises, resurrection will have the final word.
A Prayer for Good Friday
O Father, In this season of Easter,
I'm always awed by the enormity of
your Son's sacrifice upon the cross. But when I think about
His glorious triumph, I also see my Lord and Teacher
the night before Hisdeath- stooped on a dirty floor,
a humble servant, washing the feet of His disciples.
That is the spirit of Easter I can share,
The sacrifice I can offer everyday.
Grant me, I pray, the willingness to serve In all that I do.
What Easter Does
Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is life-changing and life-giving for his followers. But, as Henry Knox Sherrill notes, Easter’s “joyful news … does not change the contemporary world.” On earth, we still must deal with sin, pain, death and brokenness. And “still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice,” Sherrill adds. What Easter does, though, is provide Christians with “the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline and make the sacrifice.”
By defeating the grave, Jesus empowers us to bear our worldly troubles with joy, peace and hope. His resurrection assures us that trials, tears and suffering are only temporary, while eternal victory and life with Jesus are permanent.
A family was heading on vacation: two little ones were nestled in car seats; the van was packed. As Dad locked the house and Mom secured the garage, an adult neighbor the kids knew walked up and spoke through an open window. “Where are you going?” The kids shrugged. “Well, what road are you taking?” the friend asked with a knowing sm ile. Of course, they had no idea. “Do you know where you’ll eat today, or where you’ll spend the night?” Blank stares. Then the friend asked, “Who are you traveling with?” The children broke into grins and shouted, “Mommy and Daddy!”
On the journey of faith, we don’t know precisely where we’re headed or how all our needs will be met. But we know who we’re traveling with: our loving God who is fully aware of the twists and turns ahead; the loving Parent who promises to care for us wherever we go.
“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
“We are all so sunk in sin, and so wedded to the world, that we would never turn to God and seek salvation, unless he first called us by his grace.”
“We are Easter people living in a Good Friday world.”
“Forgiveness is the well from which we draw the water to wash others’ feet.”
“Easter is more than a day, an event, a remembrance. It is a way of life.”
“April … hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”
“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”
Articles from Communication Resources NewsletterNewsletter March and April 2019 editions.