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Holy Saturday, April 16, 2022
Today’s Scripture Reading | Matthew 27:57–61
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. (NRSV)
When I had opportunity to travel with fourteen people from Fourth Church to Guatemala for a music mission trip, we sought to bring hope and joy, comfort and healing to all we encountered. After one of our concerts in six churches, an elderly women said, “You opened up heaven tonight.” Those who sang and those who listened were all transformed by the gift of music and by the grace of God. We also spent time listening to the stories of many Guatemalans and the ways that God is active in each of their lives. We heard about Emerson Morales, Coordinator for Intercultural Encounters for the organization CEDEPCA. Emerson was negotiating better water rights between local farmers and a corporation when he and a local pastor were both kidnapped. The two were taken into the jungle to be killed, but his executioner said he had only been paid to kill one person, and since he wasn’t sure which one to kill, he told them to both run away as fast as possible. Emerson ran, and somehow, the grace of God spared his life.
God’s grace is active in each of our lives bringing hope and joy, comfort and healing, and yet we need to be open to receiving this new life. Every day we need to be grateful for all the blessings around us and, as the old hymn says, “name them one by one.” Living a life of gratitude is a first step towards a life filled with Easter joy, a life one with the risen Christ. So as we pass this evening from darkness into light, from death to new life in the risen Christ, let us, like Emerson, run from the jungle of our dark lives into that bright new life with the risen Christ.
Lord, help me run from the darkest jungles of my life into new life with the risen Christ. Amen.
Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music
Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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