TITLE: The Love Remains
DATE: March 5, 2019
TEXT:- John 3:16 - (ESV) 6 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. What follows is two Lenten stories.
The first story takes place this year on February 15th, , the day after Valentine’s Day. The place is the factory of the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora Illinois. At the factory, one of the employees, 45-year-old Gary Martin, was, after fifteen-years of service, fired from his position.
Gary didn’t take the firing well.
Minutes after being discharged, Martin returned to the plant with a gun. He took out his anger and frustration by opening fire on his one-time friends, his ex-co-workers. When Martin was done with the slaughter, five men were dead or dying.
One of those men who had been shot was plant manager Josh Pinkard. His wife, Terra, says she received a text message from Josh at 1:24 p.m. Days later, describing that terrible afternoon, Terra posted on Facebook. This is what she said:
"The man who was dying and found the clarity of mind for just a second to send me one last text to let me know he would always love me. This unbelievable person was robbed from us."
It was true. The dying Pinkard had the presence of mind, the commitment, the loyalty, the dedication to text his wife saying “I love you, I’ve been shot at work.”
That’s the story. It is a love story… and it is a Lenten story. It is a Lenten story because, even in death, Pinkard put his wife first. He showed and expressed his love with his dying breath. He wanted her to know that all the arguments of the past; all the pains and problems, all the insults and difficulties were gone.
Only the love remained.
Two-thousand years ago, in a remote village called Bethlehem God’s Son, our Savior was born. In the decades which followed Jesus lived a life totally and completely dedicated to showing just how much God loved the world and how great is the sacrifice the Lord would make to save humanity from the damnation brought about by sin.
During the Christ’s years of ministry He healed the sick; He taught the uneducated; He reached out to the friendless and spoke of repentance and forgiveness which would be bestowed upon all who had been brought to faith by the Holy Spirit.
All this Jesus did for us. And how was He rewarded by those whom He had come to save?
He was rejected; despised lied about and shunned. His friends deserted Him; one disciple betrayed Him. His church had Him arrested and unfairly tried; His government withheld justice and unjustly condemned Him. Finally He was nailed to a cross where He died.
That’s the story. It is a love story because, even in death, Jesus put humanity first. He forgave those who had put Him on the cross; He saved a thief and showed His love with His dying breath. His actions on the cross show us all the sins of the past, the pains and problems, all the insults and difficulties would be forgiven with Spirit given faith. The Lenten cross, the resurrectiion tomb say,
“Only the love remained.”
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord this Lent may I reflect on my sin and Your blood-bought forgiveness. Help me see how, “Only Your love remains.” In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Today’s devotion was inspired by various articles, amongst which is the one written by Evann Gestaldo for Newser on February 18, 2019 . Those who wish may check out this link which was, at the time of writing, fully active: http://www.newser.com/story/271489/as-he-was-dying-aurora-shooting-victim-texted-wife.html
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann, one of my long-ago confirmands. He is singing with three brothers. This song comes from the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html