Stopping and reflecting on the bigger issues of life
Today you will prepare in many different ways: you will prepare for the day by washing, dressing, eating, and maybe praying; during the day, you may prepare for a meeting, a presentation, a project or a journey; preparation is simply part of life and work.
Most days just come and go, but it’s worth reflecting that there are only two journeys, for which you really need to prepare. One is the journey of living; the other is the journey of dying. To prepare to live and to prepare to die are all that matters.
Perhaps it is wise to remember that in both of these areas, it is more about being prepared than preparing. Move your mind to the moment when Jesus spoke with the thief on the cross. “I tell you the truth,” he said, “Today you will be with me in paradise”.
In that loving moment, Jesus was preparing the man both for life and death. The gift he gave to his neighbour was that of hope; that hope could have lasted years and years; as it was, the thief only had use of it for a few hours. However, the gift was also a preparation for death, since Jesus promised him that on that same day, he would walk with him in a beautiful world garden. You; me; my garden, this evening was the nature of the promise that Jesus gave.
Everything on the cross comes in concentrated form; contained in this powerful promise from Jesus is so much nourishment, that it can be taken in by you whatever your circumstances.
If you are in a high and joyful moment, you can experience the additional certainty that this hope brings to your joy; if you are in a tedious moment, this moment can add vision to your life.
If you are in a time of sadness, this hope can bring comfort and strength; if you are in pain, this hope reminds you that it will end.
For Jesus, the next few hours took him through challenges of family and friends, utter isolation and physical pain, but the journey ended with a triumphant and profound finish, followed by a quiet and trusting commitment. That commitment was expressed in the words “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”.
Hallmarked by the indescribable hope of paradise, our journeys will be no less difficult, but for you and your loved ones, the closing prayer remains.Father, into your hands we commit his spirit.
Father, into your hands we commit her spirit.
43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he
had said this, he breathed his last.
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