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What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

from “What Wondrous Love Is This,” American Folk Hymn

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After this Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate if he could take away the body of Jesus. Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one because he feared the Jewish authorities. Pilate gave him permission, so he came and took the body away. Nicodemus, the one who at first had come to Jesus at night, was there too. He brought a mixture of myrrh and aloe, nearly seventy-five pounds in all. Following Jewish burial customs, they took Jesus’ body and wrapped it, with the spices, in linen cloths. There was a garden in the place where Jesus was crucified, and in the garden was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish Preparation Day and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus in it.

John 19:38-42

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Think

Earlier this month I brought Charlie a prayer shawl, which had been knitted and then prayed over by women from the church on his behalf. Just as his wife of almost 50 years placed it over his chest, Charlie slipped from earth into heaven. It seemed a Spirit-sent sign that Jesus had been with them during his illness, at the time of his passing, and into the future.

The cross sewn into the shawl also reminded his family as they mourned that Jesus had faced death himself. Like Charlie, Jesus knew what it felt like to face those last minutes, those last seconds, before taking his last breath. Our passage reminds us that Jesus was really dead — dead enough to be laid in a tomb.

Like Charlie, like any of your parents, grandparents, relatives, or friends who have died, Jesus understands what it means to face death — and he is there walking with them every step along the way.

Chip Hardwick

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Pray

Lord Jesus Christ, I give you praise for facing death with such dignity. Thank you for coming to earth so you would understand death the same way that other people do. I pray in your name, amen.

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Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were a present far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.

from “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” Isaac Watts

Chip Hardwick

Chip Hardwick moved to Chicagoland in early 2018 in order to serve as an interim pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest, IL. He is hoping to get his cat, Ahoy, interested in Holy Week activities this year.

Reflections on the Way: The Great Physician Now is Here - Mozart Melody

Ken Medema

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