April 11, 2018
by Scott McClure
Creighton University - former faculty member
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr
Lectionary: 269

Acts 5:17-26
Psalms 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
John 3:16-21

Celebrating Easter

Easter Prayer for Today

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

If you have ever watched sports on television or attended a major sporting event, chances are rather good that you have seen a sign (if not multiple signs) bearing “John 3:16” held by a fan in the stands. Amidst the noise of the contest, concessions, and crowds, there surfaces this quiet reminder of God’s great act of love for humanity and all of creation. What are we to make of this in the moment?

I find that what we make of it has much to do with how inclined we are not only to receive but also to recognize the giver behind the gift that we receive. Here, I think of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree.

Chronicling the relationship between an apple tree and a boy through his life and into old age, this children’s book episodically shows the tree’s love for the boy through its self-gift. While the boy always receives the tree’s gifts, however, he seems not to grasp (as he ages) the tree’s love for him that is both the source of the gift and the gift, itself.

I wonder how often I am like the boy in this story, receiving God’s gifts without recognizing that they come from him, or why they come from him. And if I am prone to this even as one “who believes” then what about those who do not believe?

John reminds us that Jesus did not come to condemn but to save. And while God’s love is dependent neither on our reception of it nor on our recognition of him as the giver, we are still called to recognize his presence in our daily lives. Therefore, this Easter season, let us each make an effort to live our lives as prayers of thanksgiving in recognition of God’s enduring and unfailing love.

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