God Loved the World (ELW 323, focus on verse 3)
1 God loved the world so that he gave
his only Son the lost to save,
that all who would in Him believe
should everlasting life receive.
2 Christ Jesus is the ground of faith,
who was made flesh and suffered death;
all who confide in Christ alone
are built on this chief cornerstone.
3 If you are ill, if death draws near,
this truth your troubled heart can cheer:
Christ Jesus rescues us from death;
that is the firmest ground of faith.
4 Be of good cheer, for God’s own Son
forgives all sins that you have done,
and justified by Jesus’ blood,
your baptism grants the highest good.
5 All glory to the Father, Son,
and Holy Spirit, Three in One!
To you, O blessed Trinity,
be praise now and eternally!
We conclude this week’s part of our Lenten journey by recalling illnesses and anticipating death. Have you experienced God’s love upholding you during sickness and then healing you? Nevertheless, we know we won’t always recover; death will come to us. Today, on St. Joseph’s Day, some Christians recognize that death is a sacred part of life. Joseph, the husband of Mary, Jesus’ mother, is deemed the model of a “happy death”—a believer who received grace as he died in loved ones’ arms. We also trust God’s grace and love will hold us as we die. We anticipate God’s steadfast love will transcend Earth’s boundaries and transport us into eternal life. During our Lenten journeys, let’s look for God’s love as it upholds us during illness, and let’s anticipate God’s love will carry us into eternity to abide with us there forever. That’s where we can find God loving us and the world.
Eternal God, please lovingly abide with us throughout our illnesses, deaths, and into eternity. Thank you for your steadfast, abundant love that you give to us and to the world. Amen.