Katydids

“What is that awful sound?” a friend asked as we stepped outside one summer evening. I stopped to listen.

“What awful sound?”

“That loud, repetitious noise coming from all around!”

Ahhh… that sound… “Katy-did, Katy-didn’t, Katy-did, Katy-didn’t…” One of my favorite sounds of the summer nights, now louder, now softer, filling the dark with the musical speech of hundreds of katydids proclaiming their love.

Every summer the katydids start their singing the last week of July- the week of my birthday, so I think of it as nature’s birthday song for me. I step outside with anticipation every evening, listening for the first, hesitant “Katy did, Katy did, Katy did,” as the chorus tunes up. Within minutes there are singers from several directions trying out their new voices (which are actually more like violins than voices, since the sound is made by rubbing wings together) and soon the night is filled with the throbbing music of many katydids. Katy-did, Katy-didn’t, Katy-did, Katy-didn’t…

On a another summer night our two oldest grandchildren sat on our front steps with me, excited but a bit nervous, being outside in the dark after their bedtime. Their concern quickly turned to rapt attention as katydids called from the field in front of us, with an echoing answer from beyond the stream behind us. Surrounded by the soft dark of the night, we watched the stars, listened to the song of the katydid, and sat in silent wonder.

Katydid watercolor

A to Z April Blogging K

Artist Friends

I know the title of this post doesn’t begin with “J,” which is the letter of the day for April A to Z Blogging, but that’s because I couldn’t find any synonyms for “artist” that begin with J, and I am featuring several artist friends whose names begin with J who have inspired me and encouraged me.

While I am a fairly extreme introvert, I value relationships deeply and very much appreciate my friends. As I was thinking about artists who have helped me grow, I was surprised at how many of their names begin with J, hence the idea for this post. Of course, there are other artists who have had an impact on me, and I appreciate them just as much, but today is for J.

Jennifer is the one I have known the longest, for… well perhaps I won’t say for how long, but I’ve known her since she was a few days old. She’s my younger sister, but I’ve always looked up to her as an artist, and I have learned a great deal from her. Jennifer and I often text or email our paintings to each other for feedback, critique, and suggestions, and I always know I can count on her for honest feedback. Once when I emailed her a painting, her feedback was straightforward and to the point– “Paper shredder,” so I am confident when she gives me positive feedback that she really means it. Jennifer often paints much larger than I do and in oils, but we also share a love for watercolor and for sketching; we have identical “Sisters’ Sketchbooks” that we use when we are together, and I treasure those times. If you’d like to see Jennifer’s work, her website is Jennifer Thompson Art.

I first connected with my friend Jamie when a mutual friend in Florida commented on a painting Jamie had posted on Facebook. I saw the painting and immediately recognized it as a spot I knew locally! It turned out Jamie doesn’t live too far from me, and since then we’ve painted together often. Jamie has been incredibly inspiring to me and has, by her example, encouraged me to try new approaches and mediums that I might not have otherwise considered. In addition to her beautiful painting and calligraphy, Jamie excels at testing new materials and she keeps careful and beautifully presented notes about them in her sketchbooks, which I often refer to on her blog, Hudson Valley Sketches.

I met Jana during my first artist residency at Acadia National Park, and we hit it off right away. She had been Artist-in-Residence there several times and knew all sorts of fabulous tips about little-known places to paint. We worked together a year and a half later to lead the Acadia Artists’ Retreat, and also rented a cabin together for several days of hiking and painting on the quiet side of Mount Desert Island. Unlike the small watercolor sketches I usually do when painting on location, Jana’s plein air landscapes tend to be fairly large acrylic paintings; even though the medium and format are different, I always learn from studying her work. I could happily lose myself in Jana’s paintings of rocks, water, and various landforms for hours. You can enjoy them, as well as her delightful animal paintings, on her blog, Jana Matusz on Site.

Janice paints with words, rather than a brush. It was she who inspired me to do this A to Z blogging, which I have been greatly enjoying. Janice blogs about healthy living, food, and books, as well as some fiction and motivational writing, and we share all those interests (well, so far I haven’t written any fiction, but I do enjoy reading it). I’ve enjoyed reading her posts during this challenge, and I hope more friends will join in for the remainder of this month or next year. Last year Janice posted 26 reviews of memoirs during April A to Z blogging. You also can be motivated by her blog, Janice Dimmock.

So I was about to wrap up this piece, when Jesus’ words to his disciples in John 15:15 came to mind: “I have called you friends.” And he is the Master Artist, and of course his name begins with J! How could I not have thought of him when planning this post?! As I mulled that over, I realized I think of Jesus as God, Lord, Savior, Comforter, Teacher, but not often as friend. I’m not sure why that is, as his word, the Bible, is replete with images and teaching about friendship, but I will be pondering that. Jesus inspires me every day with the beauty of his artwork. You can see Jesus’ work by looking out your window.

A to Z April Blogging J

Idols

A few years ago someone gave me a little stone statue that they had bought while traveling in another country. It was a somewhat squat figure, like a person with exaggerated features and an odd expression on the face. My first thought was that it was interesting, though not really my type of art. Then the person who gave it to me said that it was an idol from an older culture from where they had been visiting. The first two of the Ten Commandments came to mind:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery

 “You shall have no other gods before me.

 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them… Exodus 20: 1-5

It was awkward, but I felt I had to give it back, because we didn’t feel comfortable having an idol in our home, especially when we’d been clearly told it was an idol. I didn’t want a carved idol in my home then, and I’m certainly not in inclined to buy or carve myself a stone or wood statue to bow down to now. I don’t worship idols… or do I?

Stone statues or golden calves might be obvious idols, and it’s pretty easy to see that money or food could become idols, but it’s possible to make an idol of anything if we give it the place or power in our life that is rightfully God’s and that is only safe in God’s hands.

One common idol of our time is busyness. Not that being busy is always bad, but I think too often our busyness determines how we feel about who we are. Do we get our self-esteem, a feeling of being good or adequate or important, from being busy, rather than from the knowledge that we are created in God’s image, created to live in relationship with God and loved by him? And if we suddenly get slowed down, say by a pandemic, does our self-esteem topple?

Or what about reputation? That’s a tough one for me. I want people to like me, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting that, but what about when I let my concern about other people’s opinion determine what I do or say? Ultimately my goal and purpose is to live for God, but if I’m letting concern about my reputation determine what I do, I am making an idol of reputation. And that’s when I see that it’s only safe to give that power to God.

God made me who I am, and there’s nothing so freeing as growing into who he has made me with my unique personality and interests, and nothing so fulfilling as using my strengths and abilities to live for him. But if I give the power to determine what I do or who I am to other people, I end up becoming captive to the need to please others. That’s why I really like how the Ten Commandments start: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of … slavery.” God wants me to be free, but I find myself tempted in numerous ways to make an idol of something, and then I risk becoming captive to that. By his grace, though, I am becoming freer as I recognize my idols and give them up.

What idols do you see in our society or in your own life? Let’s get rid of our idols and be free!

A to Z April Blogging I

Hope

Those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

I love this verse. Who wouldn’t want the strength, energy, and endurance it promises? I especially love the imagery of soaring like an eagle and of running without becoming weary. I ran track and cross-country in high school, and it was rare that I wasn’t so tired I’d feel like quitting at some point during a race. What kept me going at those times, rather than giving up from weariness? Hope. There were two sorts of hope, actually.

One was the hope that I would win the race. That was a rather nebulous sort of hope, since I wasn’t the fastest runner on Fox Lane’s team, plus a rival school had triplet girls on their team who seemed like they had wings for feet, with all three girls typically finishing first, second, and third in every race. The other hope was more solid, and it didn’t depend on how many runners finished before I did. That was the knowledge that I would feel good for having run and finished the race. That second hope is a bit closer to what Isaiah was talking about. It’s not the “I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow” kind of hope, which is really more of a wish that may or may not be based on facts, but a hope based on confidence and facts.

The hope the Bible refers to is more like the confidence that, whether or not it rains tomorrow, the sun will rise. I might not be able to see the sun if the clouds are heavy, but I know it will be there. It is a confident expectation, based on God’s character, that he will fulfill his promises to those who put their trust in him, despite all the darkness and clouds we encounter in this life. That is the hope that enables us to run and not grow weary, to walk and not faint, to renew our strength, and, at least figuratively, to soar like an eagle. I like having that sort of hope.

Like Isaiah with his image of a soaring eagle, I find reminders of this hope in nature, both the ways that hope is already fulfilled with strength or encouragement for this present time and the promise of more yet to come. The following is a piece of writing I did on hope a couple of summers ago.

House Finches and Goldfinches sing; a gray squirrel churrs in the silver maple tree; a Downy Woodpecker taps, finding life and hope in a dead tree; the brook babbles as it flows with renewed energy after yesterday’s rain; a cool breeze ruffles my hair, soothing my soul.

Sunlight dapples woods and grass with myriad shades of green, all signs of life, of spring’s hope fulfilled, yet not yet fulfilled, as seeds still silently grow, ripen, and mature—promise and hope for next year, for a new generation.

A male Robin searches the dappled grass for worms, feeds his fledglings over and over—a dad nurturing his young, while his mate warms the eggs of their second clutch, soon to hatch. Hope fulfilled yet not yet fulfilled.

Black walnuts, already round but still small, swell and grow with promise and hope. Some lie in the grass already, fallen too soon, now food for the churring squirrel’s furry young with their hope for a life of leaping through sun-dappled trees, feeding on walnuts large and small. Hope fulfilled yet not yet fulfilled.

The blue of the sky, the chorus of birds and burgeoning brook, sunlight and breeze—hope for today and promise of hopes not yet fulfilled.

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
Psalm 62:5

Here’s a post with suggestions for praying for and with hope: Hope: Hebrews 6:19-20 & 10:19-22

A to Z April Blogging H

“Victory Flight”

Granddaddy’s Books

Formerly the property of
Charles Coffing Beach MD
given now by his son
Goodwin Batterson Beach Litt. D & LHD
to his granddaughter
Melissa Hamilton Thompson
March 1975

The above is the inscription in the first volume of The Riverside Natural History, which set of books my grandfather gave me a couple of months before he died. Published in 1884, there are six volumes, each weighing nearly six pounds. I have another book from his library, Erasmus’ Translation of the New Testament into Latin. There isn’t a single word of English in this small volume, but I at least I can read the numbers; this one was published in 1543. Throughout the book, each page has a column of the original Greek side by side with Erasmus’ Latin translation. I used to be able to read the Greek reasonably well with some lexical help and was also generally able to read the Latin. Sadly, I am now very rusty in both languages.

Granddaddy often spoke to me in Latin, insisting that Latin was a living language that could still be spoken in everyday life. I absorbed Latin words as part of the air I breathed, since I’d heard him speaking Latin to me from the time I was a baby. Even when Granddaddy spoke English, it was sprinkled with many now-archaic words and expressions that were archaic even then and have given me a lasting love of beautiful and seldom-used words. In addition to inspiring a love for language and languages, Granddaddy was one of the people who inspired in me a love of all learning, not only the languages he loved, but also the animals and nature that I was most drawn to. Hence the gift of The Riverside Natural History, as well as numerous books about animals and veterinarians throughout my childhood.

I put Volume 1 of the Natural History back on my shelf and reach for Vol. 5: The Mammals, but stop to look at the binding. Deep brown leather, a bit cracked and worn on the edges, gold lettering, decorative patterns engraved in the almost 3 inch wide spine. I run my fingers along the leather, pull the volume off my shelf, see the multi-colored swirling pattern on the edges of the closed pages, then open the book to see the marbled end pages inside the binding. As I hold the heavy volume, fifty years drop away, and I am standing in Granddaddy’s library…

Books line the walls, neatly arranged on built-in shelves up to the ceiling, bindings drawing me close to look, tempting me to run my finger over the soft, worn leather; titles promising knowledge and adventure, if only I could read Latin, Greek, and other ancient languages. Just touching the bindings fills me with a hunger to learn, to enter conversations long ago started by the people Granddaddy knows through their words, who have shaped him into the grandfather I know. I move slowly from one shelf to another, savoring the rich red, brown, black, and tan leather-bound books, some narrow, some three or more inches wide, a few with titles I read, most in Latin or some other language I can’t yet read. I want to learn the languages so I can join the conversations.

I am entranced by the books, but the reason I am here is Granddaddy, sitting in the corner in his armchair with the coarse, tan tweed upholstery with a singe mark on one arm, bookshelves on both sides and a small end table with his talking books beside his chair. He can’t see very well anymore and he doesn’t move so quickly these days, so after I use the wood and leather bellows to get the fire blazing brightly again in the small fireplace in the corner of his office, I bring him his pipe and a glass of water, then nestle into his lap, leaning my head against his chest, my cheek against his scratchy tweed jacket. Granddaddy wraps his strong arms and gentle hands around me, arms and hands that have split wood and stacked it into circular piles that made great forts for all of us grandchildren, that carefully planted hundreds of seedlings, that tirelessly pushed my siblings and me around in a wheelbarrow when we were smaller, and that have held thousands of books to read or to inspire others from. I breathe deeply, the scent of the library fire, of Granddaddy’s pipe, of a world of books stirring in me a longing for knowledge and eagerness to learn. I breathe out and nestle closer, listening to Granddaddy’s heart beating slow and steady, feel his arms strong and gentle around me, and relax in the knowledge that I am loved.

Granddaddy– I keep this photo on my desk

A to Z April Blogging G

Fishing

“It’s still alive!”

“Can’t be. It’s been in the fridge since yesterday. You’re imagining things.”

“It IS! It quivered when I threw it in the laundry sink.”

With Big Sister Superiority, I went to the mudroom to prove Jennifer wrong. Of course the fish wasn’t alive; Jennifer had caught it the day before and it had been in the fridge ever since, wrapped in a piece of waxed paper and shoved in between milk cartons, Hawaiian Punch, cans of Spam (yuck), jam, cheese (Brie for our parents, Swiss for me, cheddar for Jennifer, and individually wrapped American for one of our brothers), along with the numerous jars of condiments and exotic sauces that our father used for his internationally inspired gourmet dishes.

Whenever our father took us fishing in the evening, he drove us to the Lake, but we often walked by ourselves if we wanted to fish in the afternoon, and that’s what Jennifer had done the day before after school. Down the hill behind our house, along the narrow, winding path through our woods, past the Leighton’s tennis court, through the sumacs on the other side of the tennis court, along another path by the Preston’s house (we always hurried and watched out for their three German Shepherds in that area), down another neighbor’s long, paved driveway, then along Old Wagon Road till we got to the Lake’s driveway. Then down that long stretch, stepping around or leaping over potholes, stopping to pick black raspberries from the long briars reaching out to grab us from the woods, and of course hurrying as we went by the haunted house on the right. Finally we’d get to the Lake with its grassy area that wasn’t mowed often enough and its small sandy beach.

Given that this was a catfish, I’m guessing Jennifer had been fishing on the far side of the beach, not near the dock. That was the side with lots of water weeds and squishy stuff underfoot, where no one swam. That’s where Papa had caught Hoover, our pet catfish, who had wiggled between Papa’s toes as a tiny baby catfish. Papa had brought him home and he lived in a tank on our kitchen counter. By now he was several inches long and came to our hand when we tapped the glass or fed him freeze-dried worms or sneaked him bits of food we didn’t want. But this fish Jennifer had caught must have been Hoover’s great-grandfather, given his size.

Jennifer had the best luck when it came to fishing. She was the one who’d caught a five pound bass right off the end of the dock. She hadn’t even been able to pull it up from the water it was so heavy, so Papa had run over and scooped it up with a net. That fish was dinner for our whole family. This catfish wasn’t five pounds, but it was by far the biggest catfish I’d ever seen, far bigger than the decent-sized ones I’d caught and eaten.

Jennifer had managed to pull it out of the water by herself (that was easier to do when you could just slide it out along the squishy sand rather than lift it up from the water to the dock), but she hadn’t been able to get the hook out; it was thoroughly stuck through the side of the fish’s mouth. She headed home with her catch, but the fish was heavy and the day was hot, so after a while she ended up dragging it along behind her. By the time she got home she was tired and dinner was almost ready anyway, so she cut the fish line and wrapped the fish in a piece of waxed paper and stuck it in the fridge. Thankfully our mother was not too picky about what we stuck in the fridge, so the fish stayed there until Jennifer took it out to clean it the next day after school.

And now she was saying it was alive. Fat chance of that! I grabbed the cold, dusty fish and threw it back into the large laundry sink. It quivered! I threw it in again and it quivered more. Jennifer was right; the fish really was alive!

I fiddled with the hook in the fish’s mouth and got it out, then filled the sink with water and started moving the fish around as if he were swimming. I knew that fish had to move forward to make the water flow over their gills, so I figured if I kept it moving, maybe it would absorb some oxygen and revive. That would be pretty cool! After a few minutes the fish seemed to be quivering more intentionally, as if slowly coming back to life, and in a little while longer, it was clearly trying to swim!

There was no way we were going to eat this Granddaddy Catfish now. We put him in the wading pool on the terrace where he swam around for a couple of days, eating our offerings of worms and soggy dough balls (at least someone likes Pepperidge Farm white bread), until Papa could drive us to the Lake. Jennifer let the Catfish go on the squishy, weedy side, and I’m guessing his great-great-great grandchildren are still swimming in the Lake.

A to Z April Blogging F

Ephemerals

Ephemerals

Here today and gone tomorrow… That pretty well describes some of my favorite spring wildflowers, including marsh marigold, trout lily, trillium, and Jack-in-the-pulpits. They actually last a bit longer than a day, but are called ephemerals because they complete their annual life cycle in a very short period of time. Spring ephemerals are plants that grow their leaves, bloom, pollinate, produce seeds, and then die back so there is nothing to be seen above ground, all between the time the snow melts and when the forest canopy leafs out, shading the ground from the sun. The ephemerals disappear from sight, but aren’t dead; their root systems are alive underground, biding their time until the following spring, when they will once again appear to briefly share their beauty, proclaiming the retreat of cold and the renewal of life that comes with turn of the seasons.

As I thought about spring ephemerals and their brief appearance, the phrase “Here today and gone tomorrow” came to mind, and I looked it up to see who had said it. It turns out that it was first recorded in John Calvin’s Life and Conversion of a Christian Man (1549): “This proverb that man is here today and gone tomorrow.”

I also found a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.: As a young man with most of my life ahead of me, I decided early to give my life to something eternal and absolute. Not to these little gods that are here today and gone tomorrow. But to God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Both of these statements struck a chord with me, the first about the brevity of our lives when viewed against the backdrop of the timeline of the universe and all creation, and the second about God’s eternal existence compared with the transitory things we tend to devote ourselves to.

In recent months Psalm 90:12 has been coming to mind, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” I’ve been pondering the brevity of life and the fact that I don’t know when the number of my days will be up, and these ephemeral plants speak to me of doing just that, not with a gloomy, morbid outlook, but with vibrancy, joy, and wholehearted living. Two more verses from Psalm 90 express that perspective: “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days… May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us– yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90: 14, 17

As with spring ephemerals, now, the Now of every day, is the time for me to grow in wisdom, to bloom as I share whatever beauty I can, and to produce fruit for God like Martin Luther King, Jr, as I give myself to something eternal and absolute. When I remind myself that, like a spring ephemeral that lives with zest under the open sky before leaves obscure the sun, I am only here for a time, I am motivated to keep my perspective on the joy to be found in living for God, while I grow and bloom in this life he has given me, rooted in the ground of his unfailing love.

A to Z April Blogging E

Jack-in-the-Pulpit
Trillium
Trout Lilies
Marsh marigold

Dawn

I pull a heavy sweater over my pajamas, slip my feet into my Crocs, and step out into birdsong—Cardinals, Robins, Titmice, Chickadees awakening the day. Heading up my driveway in soft-soled stealth-mode, scanning the still dark woods, I spot three sleepy does just as they spot me- and leap to their feet, causing me to startle momentarily.

I continue, Canada Geese and Chipping Sparrows now adding their calls to the growing concert. A  Spruce stands tall and black against the glow in the Eastern sky as a Red-bellied Woodpecker lilts past. I pad silently, drinking in the dawn.

The crown of a Maple turns green, then suddenly all the gray gives way to shades of abundant life, and more birds merge their voices with the joyful announcement of morning. I turn homeward, surrounded by the songs of Phoebes, White-throated Sparrows, Bluebirds and more. The day has begun, and I am ready to join it.

A to Z April Blogging D

My Chestnut Stump

The breeze blowing my bangs and caressing my cheeks, I run. Through the rhododendron archway, really more like a tunnel extending from just beyond the side lawn, down the hill, and well into our woods. I run through the level area of our woods, where I once found oyster mushrooms growing all the way up a tall stump, to the old stone wall marking the edge of our property. I step carefully onto the wobbly, jumbled stones, then leap lightly into the sanctuary—Butler Sanctuary, my sanctuary.

Slowing, I meander through young birch and maple trees, pausing to twist off a twig of black birch. Chewing it to taste its wintermint flavor, I continue through the birches till I get to the main trail through the sanctuary. I turn to my right onto the wide, dirt trail and then launch myself down the eroded hill, leaping from rock to ridge, ricocheting to the next narrow ridge beside water-gouged gashes. With increasing momentum, I feel like a fledgling bird attempting my first flights.

As the trail levels out and becomes smoother, I drop into an easy jog, looking from side to side at grassy knolls scattered throughout open woods. Somehow, I don’t know why, patches of native grasses in sun-dappled woods always catch my attention and fill my heart in some way beyond words.

I watch for the narrow path, barely visible, that leads to the left, over dry rock ridges dressed in soft green lichen, stretching between oaks and the occasional white birch. Following the path, I slow to a walk, stepping softly and silently, anticipation rising inside me.

Passing under a tall oak with spreading branches, I slow, then stop. The Chestnut Stump stands before me, his ribs spiraling upward, his smooth, worn wood grey and burnished with age, now glowing golden in the evening sun. He stands taller than I and much too big to encircle with my arms, and I gaze in wonder at his elegant grace, his timeless stance. Tiny lichens grow right up to his base, green with red, matchstick-like stalks. Crumbled rock spreads side to side, and a rocky precipice of boulders drops far down in front of him. His jagged upper reaches stretch skyward and, following the spiral lines, I gaze as my Chestnut Stump points silently up to golden clouds.

I always felt a sense of awe as I approached The Chestnut Stump. I had never seen a living American Chestnut in all its glory, but this stump stood with a dignity not common among the trees in the sanctuary. Majestic even in death, my Chestnut stood with purpose, connecting heaven and earth for me

A to Z April Blogging C

Barabbas

Barabbas

Today is Good Friday, a dark day in history when Jesus was condemned and crucified. So why is it called “Good”? If we look at that day from the perspective of Barabbas, it was indeed a good day, an unexpectedly good day.

Barabbas was a criminal condemned to die, a terrorist or some other sort of violent criminal. Roman prisons were harsh places, and death sentences were carried out cruelly. Barabbas could have been dragged from his prison cell at any time to be flogged to the point of being horribly flayed, after which he would be crucified—an especially slow and torturous form of execution. He probably wasn’t having any good days and could only have been anticipating worse.

Then, unexpectedly and seemingly inexplicably, Barabbas was released, set free and given a new chance to live. Why? There was a custom that at the time of the Passover, the Roman governor would release one condemned prisoner of the crowd’s choosing. Pilate had offered to release Jesus, whom he knew was innocent of any crime, but the mob, stirred up by jealous religious leaders, had demanded that Jesus be crucified and Barabbas be released instead. So Barabbas was set free from the death sentence he deserved, while Jesus, who had harmed no one and had preached love and forgiveness, was crucified, condemned with the death sentence Barabbas had earned.

It was truly a good day for Barabbas, and it was for us for the same reason. We, too, deserve death, because every one of us has broken God’s law. When Jesus was asked what the two greatest commandments were, he replied, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”(Matthew 22:36-40)

None of us has followed either of those commandments perfectly, and since all the Law hangs on them, we are guilty of breaking God’s law. The result is separation from God, and eternal separation from God is death. But that dark Friday was good, because Jesus died in our place. I suppose Barabbas could have chosen to stay where he was, but I’m guessing he went out of that prison marveling and rejoicing that he was free. We can stay where we are in darkness and under a death sentence, or we can acknowledge and turn from the prison of our sin, accept Jesus’ death for us, and walk free into life. Like Barabbas, I am marveling and rejoicing, even while I am soberly pondering the darkness of this Good Friday.

A to Z April Blogging B