By Colleen Leonard of Midland, TX, USA
When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” -Luke 4:16-19 NRSV
My grandmother lived in isolation from other church members and congregations, but she kept connected. She did without curtains on the windows of her farm home so she could afford to subscribe to the Saints’ Herald. She read the magazine thoroughly, studied issues along with scriptures, then shared it with neighbors.
When my grandfather died, she accepted an offer from a denominational minister to preach in his church. After the service he brought a couple with him to visit in her home, trying to rescue her from a religion they considered a cult. She thought they were like Job’s comforters. She told them how Granddad believed in a different Resurrection than theirs and testified of a vision in which she saw him cross a river into a beautiful garden where he was leaning over each colorful flower, teaching the names to little children.
When she lost a son in his twenties from pneumonia, she called an elder in her church to come preach his funeral. He drove 300 miles to do so. The local pastor told him he was glad he didn’t have to preach it, as her son had used beer and he would have to preach him to hell, not into heaven. The visiting elder replied, “I would just as soon preach his as yours.”
Later Grandmother was privileged to go 30 miles once a month to Communion services. Each time she gave her testimony, she thought she might be giving it for the last time. She stressed her love for Jesus Christ and for “his body,” the church. She thought the church was beautiful in organization, in service, in ministry, and in teachings.
When my grandmother died, many people testified that two angels stood at the head of her casket. I don’t doubt that she had prayed her death would cause others to believe in the Resurrection. Grandmother’s story was the Easter story, and I believe it with all my heart.
Spirit, now live in me.
Breathe deeply and enter a few minutes of silence. Be attentive to where you sense new life emerging in you. Search your memories of the previous day. When did you notice the sacredness of life in surprising places or forms in the world around you?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
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