There was an article that featured e-mails from soldiers in war zones to family members back home. The one that touched me the most was sent by Sgt. First Class Linda Ann Tarango-Griess to her cousin on his wedding day.
Linda would be killed less than two months later. She writes: “I never thought I would see the day that you would settle down and get married, but here you are. You couldn’t have picked a more wonderful person. She is very sweet, very giving, and most important of all, she loves you. Be good to her.
“I’m sorry I can’t be there to share your day. But I am here in hopes that one day these people will have the chance to be as happy as you are. Just know that I am with you today. Just close your eyes, place your hand over your heart and you will feel me there. Today you will be with me.”
“Today you will be with me.” Where does someone get the ability to see beyond her own situation in a war zone and direct her thoughts, her hopes and her love to someone else? To be able to press the life of someone else to their heart?
IT’S GRACE! Grace, pure and simple. And when you see or hear or experience grace, it changes you. It challenges you. It gives you hope. The grace of that e-mail will sustain that cousin for the rest of his life.
In the last moment of his life upon the cross, Jesus looks at the person being executed next to him. It is grace that enables Jesus to press that man to his heart and say, “It’s going to be alright.”
Today’s Gospel reading for the Feast of Christ the King (John 18: 33b-37) seems out of place for such a celebration. Jesus is being humiliated before Pilate. They might have chosen something more triumphant, like the resurrection or more thrilling, like the raising of Lazarus from the dead. But this is the right passage because it is about the triumph of love. IT’S ABOUT GRACE, PURE AND SIMPLE!
Think of a situation where God used YOU to touch another person with God’s grace.
IN GOD’S GARDEN OF GRACE, EVEN A BROKEN TREE CAN BEAR FRUIT!