"How often do I thank God for his unconditional love?" Photo by Cherise Glunz

“How often do I thank God for his unconditional love?”
Photo by Cherise Glunz

A reflection for Holy Week written by Ed Woolf, assistant treasurer of the Church of the Brethren

“Meditate on Jesus, the Messiah, who was raised from the dead and is a descendant of David. This is the gospel I tell others” (2 Timothy 2:8, ISV).

When I used to visit my Grandpa’s house, I would immediately notice how his living room wall was covered with pictures of his 20 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren. Over the years, Grandpa was a grace-filled and gentle soul to tolerate my cousins and me and our mischievous behavior while we spent long hours playing pool, table tennis, hide-n-seek, and cards in his basement. Grandpa always loved his family.

Years ago, Grandpa spent long hours at the same factory for over 40 years, selflessly sacrificing his wants to provide for his 7 children. Grandpa was a dedicated worker with the strength and character to endure a hard day’s labor. These examples and fond memories of Grandpa’s love and endurance are especially precious now, since he was laid to rest last week.

As I think about Grandpa’s legacy and the lasting imprint of his life on our family, I consider my own mortality and how I use the life God has given me. Do I carry on the characteristics and lessons learned from Grandpa? Do others see a little bit of him in me?

In saying goodbye and thanking Grandpa for everything he did for me, I was reminded of Jesus—His crucifixion, resurrection, and everything he’s done for me. In sacrificing His life, Jesus took our place and atoned for our sins. How often do I thank God for unconditional love and remember the ultimate sacrifice Jesus paid for me?

With Jesus’ resurrection, God gifted us with eternal life. In times of my greatest need, do I turn away in fear or do I put my faith and trust in God’s promises?

Before ascending to heaven, Jesus gifted us with the Holy Spirit so that it could dwell in us. I wonder if others see Christ in my character, through my words and my actions. I often wonder if my life best reflects what I have learned from Jesus. Can others see that I’ve been changed by my relationship with Him?

At Grandpa’s service, I found a poem by Linda Ellis entitled “The Dash,” which describes the meaning of the line between your year of birth and year of death. The last stanza caught my attention as I considered my final appointment with God and the imprint of Jesus on my life: “So, when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash…would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?”

As we look to the cross this Easter, let us remember the example that Jesus set of how to live our lives. We are all loved and blessed children of God, each with unique gifts to carry and share with others during the short time that we have. Although the extent of our time here on Earth is unknown, Jesus was the perfect example of how to spend our time well—depending on God’s grace and showing love to one another.

If you have been blessed by this reflection, please consider making an Easter gift to the Church of the Brethren at . Every gift supports the many life-changing ministries that you love.

(Read this issue of eBrethren)

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