Yesterday, I met Superman on aisle 9 at the grocery store. Well, okay, it wasn’t...
“I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses; and the voice I hear, falling on my ear; the son of God discloses.
And he walks with me, and he talks with me, and he tells me I am his own, and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.” ~ Hymn “In the Garden” by C. Austin Miles
As the night sky gave way to the first pink streaks of dawn, a solitary rose awakened from her slumber. Huge drops of dew clung to her soft white petals, blessedly cool and refreshing. She began to stretch her leaves and branches toward the early morning sky and then stopped suddenly. Something was amiss in this normally silent and solemn place. The tomb, which she had been observing with interest the past two days was now open, and … something was stirring inside! She began to tremble as she watched a radiant figure slowly step from the entrance of the tomb and draw a deep breath of the garden’s perfume-scented air. OH! It is HIM! He is ALIVE! An unprecedented surge of joy raced upwards from her deep roots and consumed her whole being, causing several of her new buds to burst open in magnificent white splendor.
The rose held her breath as this Precious One walked toward her, knelt down, and cupped her dew-covered blossom in His hands. She silently gasped as she saw her own image in His eyes … her quiet, graceful beauty reflected back at her. This was the first time she had ever seen herself … and until this moment, she had never known how beautiful she really was! As He smiled tenderly and breathed in her sweet fragrance, she noticed that, although his terrible wounds had been healed, his hands still bore the scars of the events of the past week. She thought of the joy that was still surging through her, and knew that it had come at a great price … a heartbreaking, astonishing price. ….
Diffused sunlight streamed through the chapel’s stained glass windows as I sat with my ensemble choir behind the altar table. Outside, the church bells slowly pealed the count of twelve, ushering in the start of the Good Friday service. As I listened to the opening Scripture readings, my gaze fell upon the communion plates and chalices that were set upon the altar table on either side of an ornate cross. I was so close to this table that I could have reached out and touched it. Suddenly, I saw my own reflection in the golden-colored plate and chalice that sat directly in front of me. A wave of anguish swept through my heart and the congregation seemed to slowly melt away.
For a precious moment that hung suspended in time, I was alone at this table with Jesus. My heart heard His whisper, “Yes, my beautiful child, your face is reflected in my body and blood because I died for you.” His words were stunning in their intimacy, and they broke my heart. This Sacrament had just become deeply personal. Tears began to work their way down my cheeks as I marveled at the astonishing gift of forgiveness that had been poured out for me … at such a precious price.
For the remainder of the service I contemplated this amazing gift of Grace. My broken, yet nurturing heart ached to hold my crucified Lord in my arms, wipe the tears from His face and gently kiss the wounds on His head, hands and feet. And then I realized something … something that actually brought a tender smile to my face during this solemn service. What my heart so desired to do for Jesus is exactly what He has already done for me. Because of His death and victory on the Cross, my Savior holds me continually in His gentle embrace, wipes the tears from my face, heals the wounds of my heart, and works His loving will through my hands and my feet.
… The lovely white rose cherished this quiet moment alone in the presence of her precious Creator. Then, as the first sparkling rays of sunlight spread across the Garden, He stood. Someone was coming. A woman! The rose trembled again with joy, knowing that this woman would be among the first to learn of a magnificent truth … that the doors of the Kingdom of Heaven had just been flung open.
A delightful, old french tale tells the story of three soldiers who approach a small...