God’s Love Will Do Anything for Us

“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.

Picture of Beth Cormack
Beth Cormack

Beth is the project manager for the Saint Francis Ministries Marketing and Communications team.

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