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This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

- John 15:12-13

Have you watched Sherlock? I had watched the first two seasons several years ago and, with mixed feelings, recently watched Seasons 3 and 4 on Netflix. Mixed feelings because this show can be somewhat gory and dark at times (or a bit ridiculous) but it is also brilliantly written and delves deep into questions of human nature, life, death, good, and evil. It asks more questions than it answers, but they're good questions.

In Season 4, Episode 2, Sherlock is overwhelmed by feelings of guilt because, sometime earlier, a woman he had promised to protect was killed when she willingly stepped in front of a bullet meant for him. When her husband offers him grace, Sherlock responds: "In saving my life, she conferred a value on it. It is a currency I do not know how to spend."

I grabbed my remote and reversed the scene a bit, my mind already running with the words.

In saving my life, she conferred a value on it. It is a currency I do not know how to spend.

It's a good thing that line came toward the end of the episode because I could hardly concentrate after that. I kept thinking, "That's what Jesus did for me. That's exactly what Jesus did."

Curious to see if anyone else had reacted similarly, the next day I jumped online and found this lovely blog post by a young woman in Kansas. She articulates my own thoughts so beautifully (particularly in the second half, after the photo) I decided to simply pass them along to you. The timing is perfect as we look forward to Good Friday in a few days. (You can read more of my own thoughts below.)

For those of you who don't share my faith, I hope this week's W&W will provide a little insight into the hope and joy I carry in my heart every day. Thanks for the opportunity. Have a wonderful week!



P.S. This is your last chance to enter my giveaway for March by responding to this survey question! The prize is a set of five small blank greeting cards with original illustrations by me. I will announce the winner next Monday. Please respond by Saturday night so I can choose the winner on Sunday. 

Also, last week I was supposed to share with you my daily photos of things that give me joy and I forgot to because I had already posted them on social media. You can view them on Instagram here (the picture of my church was #7 so go backwards from there).

Much-Afraid shrank back. “I am afraid,” she said. “I have been told that if you really love someone you give that loved one the power to hurt and pain you in a way nothing else can.”

“That is true,” agreed the Shepherd. “To love does mean to put yourself into the power of the loved one and to become very vulnerable to pain… But it is so happy to love… It is happy to love even if you are not loved in return. There is pain too, certainly, but Love does not think that very significant.”
 


Years ago, I read Hinds' Feet on High Places, the story of a deer named Much-Afraid and her spiritual journey through difficult places with her companions, Sorrow and Suffering. Much-Afraid overcomes her tormenting fear and eventually reaches the High Places, where she receives a new name and is transformed by her loving Shepherd.

I love the passage above because it highlights the struggle we all have with love—whether it’s for family members, someone of the opposite sex, or even God. We want to love but, at times, we grow afraid of loving. We’ve learned it can be painful and it seems safer not to love. So we hold back, we build walls, we stop taking risks.

This weekend, many of us will be observing Good Friday and celebrating Christ's resurrection. No one shows us better than Jesus Himself how absolutely painful the results of pure, unconditional love can be. His love for us cost Him His life, His dignity, His glory. He was not only rejected but He was also brutally, and undeservingly, beaten, and crucified.

At the same time, no one shows us better than He does how much joy there is to be gained by loving unconditionally. Hebrews 12:2 says: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

To Jesus, the pain and shame He suffered was nothing compared to the joy of giving the gift of forgiveness and salvation to His loved ones.

In our relationship with God, we don’t need to worry about being rejected or unloved, but we might fear the things God will ask us to do or give up. We might be tempted to keep some distance between ourselves and God so that He doesn’t call on us.

Loving may be painful at times. But we don’t need to be afraid because “there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).

whimsy & wisdom from the world wide web

Grant Woolard isn't a household name but he does have nearly 100,000 followers on YouTube, and for good reason. This guy is a master at weaving together melodies and has created a few of these masterpieces. In this first one, he took 57 classical tunes by 33 composers and combined them into a delightful six-minute piece. Enjoy!

Last spring, my parents and I spent a few hours together completely enraptured by this magnificent live-theatre retelling of the life of Jesus. Sight & Sound is putting on another live production, which can be watched at five different times this weekend. The show isn't free but I think it's well worth the price ($35US), especially if you watch as a family. 

I love this classic parable that reminds us to not evaluate our worth by comparing ourselves to others but to simply embrace the beautiful and unique purpose with which each of us has been created. It's usually told at Christmas, but I think it's even more fitting at Easter. 

MAGNANIMOUS

(adj.) Highly moral, especially in showing kindness or forgiveness, as in overlooking insults or not seeking revenge.

The birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus means that one day everything sad will come untrue.

J.R.R. Tolkien

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