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June 28, 2022

Peace be with you. John 20:21, 26 

Sharing peace starts with the One who shares it first with us. Jesus’ Easter greeting to the disciples is a Jewish greeting—shalom alechem, peace be with you! But in sharing it with the disciples with the marks in his hands and side, he underscores just how deep that peace is. We are at peace with God, reconciled, brought home into the promise of love and forgiveness. The first response of the disciples was rejoicing. Sharing the peace with one another and with the world would come later. 

In such sharing, we are conveying to one another what Jesus the Christ first gave to us—the peace with God, the forgiveness of our sins. We do so with a spirit of wholeness in what this sharing represents. We have all been blessed with Jesus’ peace. It is God’s final word for us. And it is too good to keep this good news only to ourselves. That makes the moment of sharing all the more filled with rejoicing.
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

June 27, 2022

My Lord and my God. John 20:28 

When we are healed, we confess—that is, we credit—the Source of our healing. Thomas had been a man filled with many doubts and anxieties. When he saw the risen Lord, and when he put his finger into Jesus’ hands and his hand into Jesus’ side, he believed. He confessed that Jesus was his Lord and God. And in the times of the early Church, such a confession would be bold indeed, for it would claim that no earthly ruler deserves such titles—only Jesus. 

To say that “Jesus is Lord” is and always has been at the heart of the Christian confession of faith (1 Corinthians 12:3; Philippians 2:11; Healing 27 Matthew 10:32). Martin Luther personalized it when, in the darkest moments of his own despair and in need of healing, he confessed, “But I am baptized!” By this, he grasped again the promise of the gospel that Jesus is Lord. When we confess our faith, we place our complete trust in Jesus as the Source of our healing, our hope and our promise. Confessing also serves as a helpful transition to our sharing the faith, for that is also what we do when we are bold to confess Christ as Lord and God.
 

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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

June 23, 2022

If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 

When Jesus spoke of freedom, he connected into the truth of his own life, death and resurrection. Some could not understand what he meant by speaking of freedom and truth in this manner. They wanted to be free, but they did not want to give up their own traditions and practices. But Jesus sets us free from the truth of our sins and all our disease. He heals us to the core of our being by encouraging us to let go of all that to which we would cling in our own lives, and to embrace the freedom he gives that is his life over death. 

 Later in the Gospel of John, Jesus would raise Lazarus from the dead. When Lazarus emerged from the tomb, Jesus commanded, “Unbind him, and let him go” (John 11:44). Lazarus is free! He has been stripped from all that would hold him bound in death. We grasp by faith that Easter freedom. We let go of the bonds that hold us and cling to Jesus’ promise that we are free indeed.
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

June 22, 2022

Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. John 14:27 

In the tradition of faith, the heart is the place where all decisions arise. A troubled or fearful heart means that decisions will arise out of worry and fear—and that can never lead to a good result. And with all the uneasiness in the world’s sense of peace, one can succumb to this unfaith. But Jesus, even in his dying moments, did not want any of us to live or be as a people of fear but a people of promise. His death on the cross is the new root of putting our fears and our troubles to death, and his resurrection is the victory of life for all our futures. 

We can be overcome in our worries and fears as we face our days ahead. Our hearts may not want to make any decisions that only imperil us further or lead us to retreat into a shell. But our Lord has healed us by his promise and saving grace. Trusting in Jesus, death is not the finality of life. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said when he faced the gallows, “This is the end. But for me, it is the beginning of life.”
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,
 

June 21, 2022

I will not leave you orphaned … John 14:18 

As Jesus was sharing this farewell conversation with his disciples, he knew that his hour was near. The time of trial and death was impending. And he was aware that with his passing, the disciples themselves would feel as orphans, as people who were without his presence in their lives. But Jesus tells them that that is not to be the case. As the Gospel of Matthew concludes, the risen Jesus proclaims, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (28:20). 

Sometimes when a dear parent dies, or a mentor or friend we have known and trusted and leaned upon for years, there is an emptiness that comes upon us. We experience this scar of being left behind, like orphans. But the promise of Jesus is that we are never left behind in God’s enduring grace. We entrust our loved ones into the loving arms of our Lord, and we trust that his presence is always with us even as he is always with the saints who have gone before us.
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

June 20, 2022

If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it. John 14:14 

Jesus’ very presence is like the presence of his Father in heaven. It is the Father who sent Jesus to be with us, to teach us, to heal us and to give his life for us so that we may all be brought home as children of our Father in heaven. So now he encourages us to pray to our Father as God’s own children, trusting that because it is Jesus who has invited us home, we are, in fact, welcomed in the Father’s presence and our requests are heard. 

Prayer helps us in the healing of all our scars. When children are hurt or injured and come to their parents for help, the parent is there to help. God knows how many bandages I have placed on the knees and elbows of my children and grandchildren, with a kiss and a hug. We trust the Father to hear us, even as the Father hears the prayers of his Son on our behalf
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

June 16, 2022

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. Luke 24:31 

The disciples who were making their way home to Emmaus provided hospitality to a Stranger who had accompanied them along the way. But as they sat at table, the Stranger became the host, breaking bread and blessing it; and as he did, their eyes were opened. They were opened for the first time on this long, hard journey. Before this, they did not know him, and could only speak of their doubts and disbeliefs, frustrations and despair. But now they knew Him! This Stranger was no stranger at all. It was their Lord! 

Sometimes, maybe often, we cannot find the word of grace we are searching for. We may even find that our homes are empty because the powerful word we need to hear has not touched our ears or burned in our hearts. But Jesus makes his home with us. He did all along. He feeds us with love. And as he hosts us with this saving grace, we find all that had been closed in our lives (like tombs) lead to new openings for us and, through us, for the world. Wouldn’t we call this an occasion for great, resurrection-filled laughter?!
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

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