Scripture selection: Luke 23:44

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

It is a terrible and simultaneously wonderful part of the story.

Jesus dies on the cross – breathing his last breath as he commits his spirit to God the Father.

At the same time, the heavy curtain which separated the people from the Holy of Holies in the temple is torn asunder.

There could be no more dramatic, supernatural event than this one which so clearly demonstrates that all barriers between a sinful people and God have been done away with.

Only once a year could the High Priest enter this most sacred part of the temple and there atone for the people.

Now, Jesus has done that, once and for all – in His death.

There is more to come.  The people will still wait in darkness while Jesus body is in the tomb for three days.  Resurrection will come – but they will have to wait for now.

Nevertheless, the great good news of the gospel has been loudly proclaimed for the entire world to hear – at least those who will hear in faith.

Torn, the curtain is no more.

So is that which keeps a broken people from a loving and forgiving God.

It is finished.

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 meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. 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, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. 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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