Daily Reflection
April 26th, 2005

Daniel Patrick O'Reilly

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Acts 14:19-28
Psalm 145:10-13, 21
John 14:27-31

Today’s scripture readings are full of encouragement. In the Book of Acts, Paul is stoned and left for dead. When he comes to, instead of retreating in defeat and depression, he immediately goes back to proclaiming the Good News. Paul and Barnabas understand that the disciples will undergo many hardships, but they encourage them (and us), exhorting them to persevere in the faith. The psalmist proclaims the glorious splendor of God’s kingdom. And in the Gospel of John, Christ encourages the disciples saying Do not let your hearts be troubled. Jesus promises that, even though He is leaving, He will come back. Encouragement is something I have been in real need of recently.

It seems I’ve had the post-Easter blues. This year I had to travel over Easter. It is the first time I can ever remember that I was away from my family on Easter. It was not a good feeling. I did not feel the joy and victory of the risen Christ. And it seems like death has been in front of me all the time recently. First the media circus that surrounded the horrific death of Terri Schiavo. Then the death of the Pope. And, while I was traveling, a good friend and long time history professor here at Creighton died after a brief illness. Where was the victory over death? Where was the joy? Where was the encouragement? Where was the light? Where was life?

I’ve had several things to bring hope and encouragement back to me recently. Today’s scriptures being one of them. I think the psalmist must have been writing in the springtime when he spoke of the glorious splendor of God’s kingdom. Here in Nebraska, the grey and brown of winter are quickly being replaced by the lush green of spring. Seeds are coming to life. The beautiful fragrance of blossoms bring the promise of the fruits to come. And last Sunday, I was blessed with the opportunity to go to my sixth grader’s piano recital. Nothing like a child playing music to shine some light into the soul.

I knew that my son was pretty anxious and nervous about performing in front of a group. And yet, with just a little encouragement from his parents and teacher, he did a marvelous job. The result was a beautiful melody that brought joy to all who heard it. Isn’t it funny the impact a few words of encouragement can have. Christ understood this. And his words of encouragement to the disciples resulted in the faith we share today. A word of encouragement to someone is like water to a seed in springtime. Without the encouragement the seed lays dormant and dead. It is nothing. A dry, brown husk. But with just a little encouragement the seed springs to life. It bursts forth to bask in the sunshine and grow and produce fruit. It’s an amazing thing. Sort of a miracle.

Never underestimate the power of a word of encouragement. My prayer today is that the beauty of springtime will remind us of the love and encouragement that Christ offers to each of us.

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