Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Head That Once Was Crowned"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 28:19-20 – Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (NIV)
Fourteen years ago, my wife, Pauline Hitchcock, wrote a devotional around this text. We had travelled to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada, to see the burnt ruins of St. John's Church which had been destroyed at Halloween. We saw a shaft of light shining onto a broken stained glass window where the figure of Christ still remained, His arms outstretched in blessing. She wrote, "It was a message, clear and true. The building is gone; Christ is still with us."
Pauline recently passed away. We had an interlude during the Sunday service to celebrate her life. A dear friend, Linda, was among those who spoke. She had lost her husband, Ian, not long before in similar circumstances, and she remembered that he used to google the names of their children to see what would turn up so that he could tease them with it. She decided to google Pauline's name, and she found her devotional to share. Those words, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" were truly meant to come and comfort us both.
Linda and I decided that we would retrace Pauline's journey to Lunenburg. Again, it was a perfect, fall, Nova Scotia day. We found St. John's Church looking splendid in its "Carpenter Gothic", and the tenth anniversary of the complete restoration and rededication had just been celebrated.
How we talked. The Spirit was with us that day.
How wonderful it is that our Lord finds ways to help, love, and comfort us, bringing seemingly unconnected acts together into a coherent plan!
Prayer: Dear Lord, we thank You that, in the midst of our grieving, You are always with us, and that You have planned ways to send Your loving words to comfort us. Thank You that, in the light of Your love, we can go forward with confidence and know that You are with us and with those we love who are in Christ, until the end of time. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.