Today's Scripture Reflection
Mark Gottwald, Director of Student Ministry
Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!”
John 19:28, 30

Last weekend was supposed to be graduation weekend for many people I care about: my cousin, younger friends, and former students I’ve ministered to. If you know any seniors, I’m sure you felt the same way I did – sadness for the joyous celebration they’ve had taken from them.

Although you and I may not be seniors missing graduation, what we feel is empathy, not sympathy. We can relate to their loss. In so many places in life right now we too feel a deep desire for closure. “I thought my days confined to my house would be over by now… Will this pandemic ever end?” “Now they’re talking about the possibility of a second wave??” “Before all of this, I had been working so hard, I was so close to getting to where I want to be, I just want to cross the finish line!” Many of us have even been robbed of the chance to grieve the loss of loved ones by being with family at a funeral. If only this pandemic were over, I might gain some closure…

But the reality of life is that we rarely experience full and complete closure. Yes, graduation gives seniors one last ‘hoo-rah’, but they still grieve the end of that stage of life. Coming together in grief for a funeral is so powerful, but even after years of coping, a song or picture can instantly remind you of a loved one that you miss so very much. As we go through life, we accumulate so many scars, from loss, from being hurt, and, regrettably, from hurting others. So often it feels like these scars will never heal – that this baggage we carry with us will never be lifted. Jesus offers up another narrative.

As He hung on the cross, having suffered immensely, Jesus boldly states, “It is finished!” Jesus is declaring that His sacrifice gives us, once and for all, complete and ultimate closure for all time. His love is the only solution. God’s solution not only gives the unfathomable gift of eternal life, but it is also bearing fruit today.

Yes, Jesus is with you right now and actively working in you and for you. Praise God for that, because like Jesus we too thirst. But, here's the good news: the battle is already won; wholeness and complete restoration is secured. Your scars, your guilt, your fears, and all of the baggage that you carry have already been lifted off of you and taken on by another. Jesus took them from us and, in doing so, has definitively and conclusively given us closure for all time. Praise the Lord, It is finished!

In Christ,
Mark
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"Let Us Pray"
Adapted from the Book of Common Prayer
All glory be to you, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for You, in Your tender mercy, gave Your only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption; who made there, by His one oblation of Himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice , oblation and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world. Lord, give us the power to let go of all things that weigh us down and let us lift them up to you. Give us the strength and wisdom to let you take them from us. In Your name we pray, Amen.
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