Week 30 Sunday

Today

Today’s scripture selection: Luke 23-24

Key Verses: Luke 23:43

     One of the most poignant scenes in the entire Bible is that of Jesus hanging on the cross.  There beside him, on crosses of their own, are two criminals.  One is defiant; angry; bitter.  The other is repentant.  And he has one, and only one request of Jesus:

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

What an extraordinary act of faith.

Hanging there, in unimaginable pain, with no hope – he asks Jesus to remember him when he comes into his kingdom.

And Jesus, also in pain, but still filled with hope, grants his request.

“Truly I tell you; today you will be with me in paradise.”

No conditions – no strings attached – no sermon – no scolding of how the man had squandered his life away foolishly.  Only pure love and grace:

“…today you will be with me in paradise.”

And no waiting either.  Today – in just a little while – paradise.

Extraordinary.

But God’s love is like that.

If we only have a small bit of faith and trust – God takes it from there.  And even when we feel all has been lost – life begins anew.

Grace.  It can happen now…today…all we have to do is ask.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I come to you just as I am, always in need of your grace.  Thank you for listening and loving me as you do.  And may I extend that same grace to others, in your name.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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