We lay in the bed listening to my favorite meditation app, “Pray as You Go” before we get up to clean, face the last day in paradise, and start the new week.
“The University of Johannesburg Choir sing Ndisondela Kuwe, I come to you in prayer, almighty God. You are worthy to be praised. On this feast of Christ the King can I come before Christ in prayer and praise Him?”
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Luke.
And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’
One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’
My daddy wrote a book about the thief on the cross. It’s called The Man Called Jesus. The voice on the app encourages us to listen deeply to the passage and discover what words or actions stood out to us. I ask Parish, after listening, what was his response to the question.
He shares that even though the thief led a troubled life, he knew God and saw Him as His Savior. One who could help him –“Remember me”, he pleads with Jesus. Jesus embraces the thief and only sees his love and humanity, not his wrongdoings.
My response to the meditation was everyone involved–people standing by watching who were probably there for curiosity and justice, leaders scoffing, soldiers who had to spend the day doing the awful and mocking him–following the lead of their superiors and the influence of Rome, and the criminals on the cross. I think that life, today, hasn’t changed much. How we look at the cross on any given day could be where we are in our lives. We all want to believe that we would be the thief who, even in his pain and sorrow, reached out to God. He truly knew where he was in relation to a loving God. Remember our question from a previous post? Where are you? In some ways, he was the only one who could answer that question in the story. All the others, saw through the lens of their job, their culture, their hardships, and pain.
To be known. To truly believe that God knows you–every fiber of your being, and loves you. The verse in Zephaniah that talks about God dancing over you hit home to me in my mediation and reading of my book. I used to believe that he danced over me to beckon me to Him. After reading another perspective in chapter 4 of my book, He dances over us because He delights in us and loves us. No matter where you are in life.
“celebrates and sings because of you, and he will refresh your life with his love.” Zephaniah 3:17
Don’t be too hard on the other criminal, Anna. He was speaking from deep hurt and pain. Pray for those who find God distant and can’t seem to understand that He celebrates and sings BECAUSE of them. I’ve been there. Events and happenings can influence us and impact our spiritual walk.
Lord, remember me and celebrate.
I’m leaving my cocoon and heading back to the stressors of life–it’s just life. How do we carry the Holy home with us and keep it going?
I sing this verse from Isaiah.
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.” Isaiah 43:1-2
I am with Jesus, right now, in paradise. One day we go home to Him, and right now I am His, living this life before me.
The picture that goes with this post is an empty glass that I picked up and noticed the sun rays shining through. Look how the details come alive and the symmetry of the created glass. I captured that enormous star, the sun, inside the tiny bottom of the glass.
Deep thinking over an odd picture; however, somehow this describes how God works in my life. He is there in the details, shining His light, and when He does, I am able to see the smallest of details in all the handiwork of His love.