Bee Still

Have you ever been stung by a bee? Have you ever been stung by a bee eight times all at once? This was my unfortunate experience last week on a long run. I was on a wide path bordered by the most beautiful flowering bushes when all of a sudden, I felt as though I had been pierced in the hip by a poison blow dart. It was excruciating. Then the sensation repeated itself seven more times as the vicious agent of hell continued to attack, landing on my neck, arms, back, and even my face. I kept running and took my hat off to swat at it, to no avail. I may or may not have spewed a string of words that no clergy member should even know, much less say.

Worst of all, it happened at mile 5 in a 10-mile run with no way to get home except to run. I should have just stopped and called an Uber.

The aftereffects stayed with me for days. I was nauseated, dizzy, itchy, and generally felt puny. I developed roving hives for 24 hours that would appear and disappear in different places on my body at will. I still have a small crater on my cheek and red patches that haven’t faded.

That nasty bee sure did leave its sting!

But praise be to God, death won’t.

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote these beautiful and cherished words about the impotence of death in the face of the strength of Christ:

1 Corinthians 15 (Contemporary English Version)

50 My friends, I want you to know that our bodies of flesh and blood will decay. This means they cannot share in God’s kingdom, which lasts forever. 51  I will explain a mystery to you. Not every one of us will die, but we will all be changed. 52 It will happen suddenly, quicker than the blink of an eye. At the sound of the last trumpet the dead will be raised. We will all be changed, so we will never die again. 53 Our dead and decaying bodies will be changed into bodies that won’t die or decay. 54  The bodies we now have are weak and can die. But they will be changed into bodies that are eternal. Then the Scriptures will come true,

“Death has lost the battle!
55 Where is its victory?
    Where is its sting?”

This is a passage that is read often at funerals, and it brings much comfort to the bereaved. The mystery of God’s prevenient gift of eternal life is something we can cling to when our loved ones die. It is a lifeboat of hope when we contemplate our own passing. God gave Jesus the victory over death itself, and we can stake our very lives on that fact.

56 Sin is what gives death its sting, and the Law is the power behind sin. 57 But thank God for letting our Lord Jesus Christ give us the victory!

58 My dear friends, stand firm and don’t be shaken. Always keep busy working for the Lord. You know that everything you do for him is worthwhile.

So, keep working toward that day. Don’t be shaken! Keep singing, praising, worshipping, studying, and being busy for God. All of this will soon pass away, but the love of the Lord lasts forever.

Just keep running.

Bee Still by Kathy Schumacher

Joe on the Go

The main ingredient of these devotionals is scripture, but my favorite part of this morning devotional-writing routine is making that first cup of coffee and sitting down in my chair by the corner windows that overlook the harbor. With a steaming cup of joe in one hand, I begin to pray and write, and look to see where God is taking us each day. I know that many of you read these writings first thing in the morning, and I imagine you in a comfortable spot with your own cup of “cawfee regulah,” as they say in New York. BTW, “coffee regular” is caffeinated coffee with two sugars and two creams. That’s what it takes to wake up in New York.

And since we’re learning about all things coffee this morning, the phrase “cup of joe” comes from the morphing of “java” and “jamoke,” according to Snopes:

“Of the two best theories, jamoke morphing into joe is the strongest contender thanks to this find by linguist Michael Quinion: “It is significant that an early example appears in 1931 in the Reserve Officer’s Manual by a man named Erdman: ‘Jamoke, Java, Joe. Coffee. Derived from the words Java and Mocha, where originally the best coffee came from.’”

We only do serious research here at At Water’s Edge, people.

Coffee is an amazing industry now. Back in the ancient of days, during a period of history before Starbucks (known as B.S.), folks usually made a cup of something called “Chock Full of Nuts” or “Maxwell House” at home and then got on with their day. Now we have Starbucks beckoning us from every corner, and the Starbucks culture has become prevalent everywhere. Children now learn to say Caramel Macchiato and Grande, Iced, Sugar-Free Vanilla Latte With Soy Milk before they say dog and cow. Next time you are in a public setting, take note of how many people are carrying the famous Starbucks cup with their names misspelled on the side. Starbucks reported 4.2 billion dollars in sales last year. We prize our caffeine, depend on our caffeine, need our caffeine, and kinda worship our caffeine. And coffee shops everywhere are at our service.

Apparently, there was no coffee in Biblical times, which may explain all of the fighting that went on in the Old Testament. The writers of the Psalms, however, were very much in touch with their need for a morning cup of God:

Psalm 143

A psalm of David.

1 Lord, hear my prayer,

    listen to my cry for mercy;

in your faithfulness and righteousness

    come to my relief.

2 Do not bring your servant into judgment,

    for no one living is righteous before you.

3 The enemy pursues me,

    he crushes me to the ground;

he makes me dwell in the darkness

    like those long dead.

4 So my spirit grows faint within me;

    my heart within me is dismayed.

5 I remember the days of long ago;

    I meditate on all your works

    and consider what your hands have done.

6 I spread out my hands to you;

    I thirst for you like a parched land.

7 Answer me quickly, Lord;

    my spirit fails.

Do not hide your face from me

    or I will be like those who go down to the pit.

8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,

    for I have put my trust in you.

Show me the way I should go,

    for to you I entrust my life.

9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,

    for I hide myself in you.

10 Teach me to do your will,

    for you are my God;

may your good Spirit

    lead me on level ground.

11 For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life;

    in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.

12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;

    destroy all my foes,

    for I am your servant.

Out of everything that is beautiful in this passage, this verse absolutely sings:

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my faith in you.

What might your day look like if you made that your prayer? Think about all the routine tasks you have to do today: work, relationships, chores, child-rearing, etc. How might all of these things be if you woke up every day and asked God to teach you his will, and to use his good spirit to lead you on level ground? What if you poured a hot, steaming cup of God and ask him to show you the way to go every morning with the same faithfulness and regularity you apply to drinking coffee?

Prevenient grace assures us that God is already present in your day, waking you up and wooing you to his side. So, take a sip, savor the flavor, and settle into his promises. In God, we find our hiding place, our life preserver, the silencer of our enemies, the one who brings relief, and the one who hears our cries for mercy. And that, my friend, is better than caffeine.

Joe on the Go by Vic Miles

Outta Control

A few months ago I had the pleasure of touring the Tillamook Air Museum in Tillamook, OR. It is located at old Naval Air Station inside a large K-Class airship hangar. There were many amazing exhibits of full-size airplanes, cockpit trainers, jets, helicopters, and more, but my attention was caught by an old F-4 Phantom cockpit that had been used in the movie “Sully.” Captain Sully Sullenberger flew F-4s in Vietnam, and the owner of the F-4 cockpit allowed it to be used in the movie and then donated it to the museum.

The events of Captain Sullenberger’s heroic saving of a US Airways A320 airplane that crashed landed into the Hudson River in 2009 are well known. Just after taking off from LaGuardia Airport, the plane was struck by a flock of Canadian Geese that flew directly into the engines, causing complete engine failure. In a miracle of bravery and expertise, Captain Sullenberger landed the plane on the water and assisted all 155 passengers to evacuate to safety.

When things get out of control, it is good to have a captain around. I know this from personal experience. I have had two emergency landings in an airplane in my lifetime. One was due to the windshield cracking, and the other involved evacuating down inflated chutes immediately upon touchdown due to an engine fire. Knowing that the captain was in charge kept me calm and assured under great pressure. Plus, I’m married to a captain, so I know the training, experience, and expertise that it takes to be one.

Today’s Scripture likens Jesus to a captain in control of everything. In this passage we see evidence that Jesus is both fully human and fully divine. In the fullness of his humanity, he is a brother to us and thus lower than the angels. But in the fullness of his divinity, he wears the crown of glory and honor, and controls the ship like the Captain that he is:

Hebrews 2 (Common English Bible)

God didn’t put the world that is coming (the world we are talking about) under the angels’ control. Instead, someone declared somewhere,

What is humanity that you think about them?
        Or what are the human beings that you care about them?
For a while you made them lower than angels.
        You crowned the human beings with glory and honor.
        You put everything under their control.

When he puts everything under their control, he doesn’t leave anything out of control. But right now, we don’t see everything under their control yet.However, we do see the one who was made lower in order than the angels for a little while—it’s Jesus! He’s the one who is now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of his death. He suffered death so that he could taste death for everyone through God’s grace.

Hebrews 2 (New King James Version)

10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying:

“I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”

Is your life in disarray? Do you feel out of control? Do you need a Captain-Savior to bring you to safety? Does chaos reign in your family?

In his glory, Jesus conquered death and restored humanity’s place of dominion over the earth that was lost when Adam fell. We become rightful heirs to the promise that all things will be sanctified in God’s time.

In the meantime, remember that God is in control, even when the plane is going down. Your Captain is at the helm. Thanks be to God.

Welcome Aboard

Acts of Faith

I love to run but I hate to do races. Races are the worst. You have to be diligent in your pre-race workouts for months, and then on race day, you get up at an ungodly hour and run a course you’ve never seen before, being passed by young people pushing strollers with their dogs trotting alongside of them. Or maybe that last part is just me. I have been beaten by many a kid/dog combination in our local Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. It is a little humiliating.

I mention this to let you know that I have officially lost my mind and have registered for a Half Marathon in Celebration, Florida. This charming little town is a favorite place of mine, and I have loved morning runs there. But to commit to a long-distance run when I will have to get up too early to run too long to be passed by too many dogs and strollers is either an act of insanity, or an act of faith. We’ll find out in January.

But even now, that commitment has landed in my soul, and I am motivated to be faithful to my daily runs. I have included a long run once a week into my training, just to remind myself that 13.1 miles won’t be doable unless I keep going now. This is the only sane part of doing a race … your commitment to it in the future informs your discipline in the present. It is an interesting dynamic: commitment informs discipline, but discipline also informs commitment. Plus, there is always the hope that there will be one dog running slower than you.

Paul uses a beautiful race analogy in this passage from Hebrews:

Hebrews 12 (The Message)

12 1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.

I have always loved this passage. We don’t know if Paul was a runner, but he sure knew how to finish a race. This passage comes right after a listing of all the people who suffered for their faith and performed many acts of faith to get us where we are today. These people kept their eyes on Jesus through persecution and suffering, knowing that the reward was just ahead. That fueled their running and kept them on track.

Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

Are you flagging in your faith? Have sin and doubt weighed you down? Remember the stories of those who came before us. Remember the path that Jesus created. Keep moving forward and don’t stop.

Never, ever quit. Keep that finish line in sight and keep on keeping on. Just fix your eyes on Jesus.

Celebration Lake

Walking in the Light

The summer heat has forced me to wait until sunset to walk my dog in the evening. We do our morning walk as early as we can and then wait out the 90 plus degree heat until it is safe again to go out. My yellow lab wears a 100 lb. fur coat, so this is necessary.

The other day I waited until 9pm before I got her out. It wasn’t intentional: I was writing a funeral sermon and didn’t want to stop until it was finished.

It amazed me how dark it is where I live. We don’t have streetlights in Colington, and by the time I got to the end of the driveway I regretted the fact that I had neglected to bring a flashlight or a cell phone. The other challenge before us was that our resident Canadian geese wander my cul-de-sac at will, leaving greenish black “offerings” all over the place. They are especially hard to dodge in the dark.

It doesn’t take long for darkness to overcome light, and it can sneak up on you if you aren’t prepared and haven’t been paying attention to it encroaching on your day. Or your soul.

So it is with spiritual darkness.

The Enemy can use the cover of darkness to stealthily approach any Christian life and render it blind. This is why it is always important to live our lives in the light of Christ. Christ’s light will never succumb to the darkness, but by our attitudes, behaviors, and fondness for wandering away, we certainly can find ourselves in the middle of a darkness we didn’t expect.

Our passage today speaks of the light that Christ brought to the world that was only made brighter by his death:

John 12 (Common English Bible)

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”

29 The crowd standing there heard and said, “It’s thunder.” Others said, “An angel spoke to him.”

30 Jesus replied, “This voice wasn’t for my benefit but for yours. 31 Now is the time for judgment of this world. Now this world’s ruler will be thrown out.32 When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to me.” (33 He said this to show how he was going to die.)

Jesus set the stage for his crucifixion. Nobody understood what was about to happen, but he spoke this truth so that they would remember what it was all about after it was accomplished.

34 The crowd responded, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Human One must be lifted up? Who is this Human One?”

35 Jesus replied, “The light is with you for only a little while. Walk while you have the light so that darkness doesn’t overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness don’t know where they are going. 36 As long as you have the light, believe in the light so that you might become people whose lives are determined by the light.” After Jesus said these things, he went away and hid from them.

It is so easy for darkness to overtake us. One little flirtation, one small giving into temptation, one harsh word spoken in selfish anger, one slip backwards into a sinful behavior, and BAM, lights out.

This is why we must be watchmen on the wall, watching and waiting. The world’s ruler is constantly on the prowl looking for cracks in our armor. But we have the light of Christ within us, and it indeed is a light that no one can extinguish.

See the light? Be the light.

Morning Light by Michelle Robertson

Gaining and Losing

My grandson is fascinated with what my life was like when I was growing up. He thinks about this a lot, and he has a million questions about my childhood. He wants to know things like what my favorite Marvel movie was when I was a child, or did we have cars. (Geeze kid, I’m not THAT old!!) Recently he asked me, “Nana, what do you miss the most about being a kid?” I quickly responded, “My metabolism.” Gone are the days when I could eat anything I wanted and not carry it around with me for the rest of my life!

Who among us has not gained and lost weight over the years? Did you ever wonder what that the total poundage in each category would be? Speaking for myself, the numbers fluctuate daily. And as I’ve aged, I have had to accept that the ideal weight of my youth is not a realistic or attainable goal anymore. I have had to accept a new plateau. (Somehow that makes it sound better, right? “Plateau.” If you throw a little French accent on it, it almost sounds delicious.) In our younger years, it seems as though a few weeks of self-denial is all that it would take to get things back on track. Not so in the latter years. It’s the battle of the bulge, and the bulge is winning.

Jesus had an interesting conundrum to present to his disciples. It was also a matter of gain verses loss. But in this case, a few instances of self-denial would not be enough to turn things around. He was asking them for a life of a total abandonment of self:

Matthew 10 (Common English Bible)

39 Those who find their lives will lose them, and those who lose their lives because of me will find them.

Matthew 16 (Common English Bible)

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me. 

When Jesus stated that coming with him not only meant saying “no” to themselves, but also taking up their own cross, he wasn’t playin’. The disciples would have instantly recognized what that meant. The cross was an instrument of torture. It was a place of humiliation. It was an invitation to join Jesus on death row.

25 All who want to save their lives will lose them. But all who lose their lives because of me will find them. 26 Why would people gain the whole world but lose their lives? What will people give in exchange for their lives?

But oh, the benefits of that choice! The reward for total self-emptying is the fullness of grace. The plateau that we reach when we take up our crosses and follow Jesus is a place of eternal life that is filled with joy, devoid of pain, and there is not a weight scale in sight. Heaven has no calories, hallelujah! Tacos, here I come.

We are invited to this same promise. Following Jesus means walking away from our sinful selves and walking toward a Savior who leads by example. This life is filled with service to others, obedience, compassion, kindness, worship, prayer, imitating the mind of Christ, and loving as he loves.

Want to come along? You have everything to gain.

Heaven to Gain by Wende Pritchard

Seed Birth

My generous neighbor left me four beautiful plants as she returned to her permanent home last month. I am the happy recipient of rosemary, basil, cilantro, and mint.

They are already dying.

I neglected to tell her that when it comes to plants, I have a black thumb. I have actually been known to kill plastic plants. Kid you not. I either over-water or under-water, but in the end, no plant has ever survived my care.

I take heart in knowing that in general, a plant has to die before it can be reborn. That is exactly how seeds work. The seed is the dormant product of a thriving plant, and once planted in the ground, it becomes a thriving plant as well. Perhaps I can collect the seeds of these plants to give to her when she returns.

Thanks be to God, that is exactly how it works when we die, too:

1 Corinthians 15 (Common English Bible)

35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? What kind of body will they have when they come back?” 36 Look, fool! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t come back to life unless it dies. 37 What you put in the ground doesn’t have the shape that it will have, but it’s a bare grain of wheat or some other seed. 38 God gives it the sort of shape that he chooses, and he gives each of the seeds its own shape. 39 All flesh isn’t alike. Humans have one kind of flesh, animals have another kind of flesh, birds have another kind of flesh, and fish have another kind. 

When we die and are buried, we exchange our earthly bodies for heavenly ones. Paul teaches us that both types have a kind of glory:

40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. The heavenly bodies have one kind of glory, and the earthly bodies have another kind of glory. 41 The sun has one kind of glory, the moon has another kind of glory, and the stars have another kind of glory (but one star is different from another star in its glory). 42 It’s the same with the resurrection of the dead: a rotting body is put into the ground, but what is raised won’t ever decay. 43 It’s degraded when it’s put into the ground, but it’s raised in glory. It’s weak when it’s put into the ground, but it’s raised in power. 44 It’s a physical body when it’s put into the ground, but it’s raised as a spiritual body.

Take a look at the beautiful language in verse 47. Paul said that the Adam was made from dust, but the last Adam, Jesus, is made from heaven. Our resurrected, spiritual bodies come from heaven above! Like Jesus, our resurrected bodies will walk and eat, but will not be bound by the constraints of the earth. I am so relieved about the eating part.

If there’s a physical body, there’s also a spiritual body. 45 So it is also written, the first human, Adam, became a living person, and the last Adam became a spirit that gives life. 46 But the physical body comes first, not the spiritual one—the spiritual body comes afterward. 47 The first human was from the earth made from dust; the second human is from heaven. 48 The nature of the person made of dust is shared by people who are made of dust, and the nature of the heavenly person is shared by heavenly people. 49 We will look like the heavenly person in the same way as we have looked like the person made from dust.

As you contemplate this idea of your glorified, heavenly body, give thanks to God for the gift of the resurrection. We need not fear death. Death is but a transition to a glory unknown, thanks be to God.

Morning Glory by Vic Miles

Attention, Please

I was buckled in with my cell phone in airplane mode and my tray table in its upright and locked position. I was ready for takeoff. We had just started to push back when the PA come on and the flight attendant asked, “Did anybody drop this?” Of course, everybody looked up, craning their heads around the seats and leaning into the aisles to see. She continued, “OK, now that I have your attention, let’s go over the safety demo.”

Touché! Well played, Southwest Airlines, well played! I am a huge fan of the whimsical approach to customer service that Southwest uses. They are one of my favorite airlines.

If God could completely have your attention, what do you think he would say?

Here’s one thought:

Matthew 6 (The Message)

34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

Whoa. Did you hear that? Are you craning your head around all your problems to see what he is saying? Don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. Whatever it is, God will help you deal with it.

Do you believe that? Do you have a well of trust deep enough that when you dip your worry-bucket in, it comes out filled up to the rim with hope? Yeah, me neither. It is hard to face your unspoken fears with courage and faith. Instead, our human tendency is to immediately dive deep into fret and worry. It’s normal. It’s natural. It’s understandable.

And it’s also useless.

Scripture reminds us that God loves the wildflowers he created, and … wait for it … he loves us even more:

30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving.

People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”

Do I have your attention yet?

So, here’s the thing. You know God. You know how he works. Every day you check in here to read, learn, and grow in your understanding of his Word. So, pick this up today: the best defense against useless worry is to relax in his promises.

Steep your life in God-reality.

Steep your life in God-initiative.

Steep your life in God-provisions.

When you do that, you’ll find all your everyday concerns will be met by the God who loves you, who created you, and who died on a cross for you.

Thanks be to God!

No Worries by Jennifer Thompson

Belonging

How many groups do you belong to? Over the course of a lifetime, we belong to many things. We are part of an elementary school class, then a work team, we participate in community efforts, we join social groups, we play on a sports team, we connect with alumni groups, and hopefully we belong to a community of faith. We even join rewards clubs so we can earn extra points on our purchases. Hello, Sky-miles!

Each group comes with a different set of membership requirements. Even on Facebook, you have to answer some questions before you can join a specialized group. Some groups have a low threshold, such as a neighborhood book club that simply asks that you read the book before coming, and some have a high bar, like having to take classes prior to joining, such as volunteering for the local fire department or hospital. Sometime churches require taking a membership class in order to join.

I have never regretted the day that I became part of Jesus’ group. Belonging to Jesus is a life-long process of walking with him. All are invited to follow him. Those who share a common belief that Christ is Lord belong to each other, and God invites us to lose our life in order to find it by living for his son.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul describes what belonging to God looks like. This is a pretty high bar. He suggests to the Romans that being a part of this group means that they don’t live for themselves anymore:

Romans 14 (Common English Bible)

We don’t live for ourselves and we don’t die for ourselves. If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to God. This is why Christ died and lived: so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

What does that mean for you today? Does it seem like a big ask?

I think the beauty of this passage comes in the reciprocal nature of what Paul is describing. Christ died for us so that we might live for him. Which is the harder task? Our living or his dying?

But more importantly, whether we live or die, we belong to God. That means we share in the glory of knowing the son up close and personal. That means we share in the glory of a promised new heaven. That means we participate in the glory of the resurrection.

That means we are never alone.

Are you feeling vulnerable right now? Do you feel alone? Are you struggling with a burden that is too big to carry by yourself?

Never forget that you belong to God. He calls you by your name and he prepares a table before you. All you have to do is follow.

Reflected Glory by Kathy Schumacher

Things Aren’t Always as They Seem

Yesterday’s children’s sermon involved a little trickery on my part. I showed the children a large red tube of “toothpaste” that my husband had just brought back from Germany. I squeezed a dollop of this German mittlesharf senf onto a toothbrush and watched their surprise as they realized that it wasn’t toothpaste at all … it was mustard. We then talked about the fact that you can’t tell what it inside by looking at the outside of things.

Or people.

Today’s scripture is a like that. Jesus pointed to the humiliation of the cross and called it “glory.” Notice that Jesus used some form of the word “glory” five times in the space of two brief sentences. We join Jesus and the disciples in the upper room just after Judas has left:

John 13 (Common English Bible)

31 When Judas was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Human One has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify the Human One in himself and will glorify him immediately. 

As soon as Judas left, the process of glorification was set in motion. The arrest, the beatings, the sham trial, and the execution were now in motion and Jesus’ death was assured. Crucifixion on a crude cross was designed for the punishment, humiliation, and debasement of convicted criminals, yet Jesus saw this as his glorification. For Jesus, to be fully known and understood was to be glorified. Finally, the world would know why he had come and through his death on the cross, the world was saved. He took the ugliness of the cross and made it beautiful.

33 Little children, I’m with you for a little while longer. You will look for me—but, just as I told the Jewish leaders, I also tell you now—‘Where I’m going, you can’t come.’

Glory came with his resurrection. Glory was delivered in the form of eternal life for all who believe. Jesus entered into his glory and invites us to follow. But we have one important thing to do first: we must learn to love each other.

34 “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. 35 This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.”

The invitation to glory and the commandment to love one another is inextricably linked. What if that became the one and only requirement for entry to heaven? What if your eternal life was predicated on your demonstrable love for others? Would there be enough evidence to convict you to eternal life?

Where there is hate, let us sow love. It’s not too late. It’s never too late to follow Jesus into a glorified life of loving as he loved us. Let’s get to it.

Glory Fountain by Kathy Schumacher