Our Lenten Devotion for Sunday, March 13, comes to us from Steadfast Love which features reflections and prayers by Ed Arle and Gil Duchow with inspiration from the works of Henri J.M. Nouwen.
7 On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; 8 he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. Isaiah 25:7-8 NIV
“By His Death”
Jesus was crushed by the powers of death, but his death removed death’s sting. To those who believe in him he gave the power to become children of God, that is, to participate in the life where death can no longer reach. By his death, Jesus was victorious over all the powers of death.
(from Walk with Jesus by Henri J.M. Nouwen, page 76Henri)
I remember standing at the gravesite of a homeless man I had never met. The local funeral director saying, “This man has no family, but would you mind coming and saying a few words?” When I arrived at the scene, the only people present were the funeral director, two attendants and those who dug the grave. When I looked at the gun-metal gray casket, I thought about how this man was once a child of parents who gave life to him, named him and believed in him. I also thought that now, though his life was over, there was one other person near the grave that day. It was Jesus, who knew this man’s name and loved him the way he loved me; Jesus, who one day will pull the cover off our graves and invite us to rise up and live again.
I have always grieved for those who die alone with no one to mourn their loss. I am touched by the loneliness, sadness, and grief of those situations. This reflection reminds me that none of us dies alone, no matter how the circumstances may seem in the moment. Jesus came so that we could always know and trust that God is with us, even in the most depressing moments when we may feel hopelessly lost and alone.
Dear Lord Jesus, without you we walk forgotten and alone in this world. Because of you we have a place, not only in your kingdom but in your heart. Thank you for making me a child of God. Amen.