God’s Love Will Do Anything for Us

April 2020 · Ministry News

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (KJV)

A picture is worth a thousand words. At least that’s how the old saying goes. I find this to be true. Just take a moment and scroll through your photo library on your phone. Or look at all your photos on Facebook. And look at a picture of a relative who has passed on from this life. I’ve found that looking at these pictures often brings up memories, good and bad. It’s as if each picture has a story to tell- some shorter than a thousand words and many that could fill a thousand-page book. Pictures are memories, stories, parts of our lives that are frozen glimpses of our individual life stories. Pictures really are worth a thousand words.

The story of Christ’s passion (suffering and death) read on this Palm Sunday has more than a thousand words. The passion narrative in Matthew is one of the longest readings in the Episcopal lectionary. But these many words paint a very important picture. The first picture we get is one of celebration- Jesus riding triumphantly into Jerusalem to adoring crowds- crowds filled with people who believe that Jesus is the Messiah- the one coming to set them free from Roman Imperial rule. St. Matthew gives us words of joy and expectation, words that give us a picture of hope.

But how quickly St. Matthew’s words change. All of sudden his words carry us to the scene of the trial of an innocent man. A trial that is a picture of the world’s perversion of justice. And then we find ourselves with words of this same man being nailed to a Roman cross, dying between two common criminals, a picture of what happens to anyone who dares to challenge the Pax Romana- the peace and power of Roman rule.

Our question now becomes, “What does these pictures mean? How do we use words to describe what pictures are displayed before us?” I believe that what we see is a man, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, dying on a cross. And here are the words that make up that picture- God’s love will do anything for us. And so, through the cross of Christ we are given a picture of the love of God. And turns out, that this picture is worth one word repeated over a thousand times and that word is love.

The peace of Christ be always with you, Seth+

The Rev. Seth M. Walley is a Senior Advisor with The Saint Francis Foundation and the priest associate at Christ Episcopal Church in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.