Pause

Take three deep breaths, eyes closed, and repeat these words in your head:

Breathe the Spirit in,
Breathe distractions out.

Breathe the Spirit in,
Breathe distractions out.

Breathe the Spirit in,
Breathe distractions out.

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Listen

Jesus answered, “You are a teacher of Israel and you don’t know these things? I assure you that we speak about what we know and testify about what we have seen, but you don’t receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Human One. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so must the Human One be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”

John 3:10-17

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Think

Ah, there it is. The oh-so-familiar verse of John 3:16. Of course there’s much more to this passage than just one verse, but 3:16 always captures our attention with its pervasiveness in pop culture, sports, and church.

It’s important to note, though, that the eternal life Jesus promises is not some after-death possibility, but a present reality. Eternal life does not refer to chronological time, but rather to a certain fullness. It’s a fullness of life that we are invited into every day we wake up and live into God’s love. When we believe that God so loved the world — when we believe that Jesus is the incarnation of God’s love among us — when we believe that nothing can separate us from the love of God (not even death!) — then we have eternal life here and now. Just as the Kingdom of God is here and now. And our life in that Kingdom is marked by a fullness that only eternity can comprehend.

Lauren Holder

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Pray

Eternal God, you invite me to a fullness of life beyond all knowing. May I recognize your presence in my life this day as glimpses of that fullness, and may those glimpses serve as an invitation to seek and serve you more. Amen.

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Go

Let us go out into the world, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit!

Thanks be to God.

Book of Common Prayer

Lauren Holder

The Rev. Canon Lauren Holder is an Episcopal priest at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, Georgia. She loves exploring the world with her husband through the eyes of their small children and sharing good food with good friends.

Making Space: Be Thou My Vision

Carter Harrell

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