She had such a kind face; it was as if every laugh line crinkled joy into the atmosphere. If I had to pick one woman who demonstrated the love of Jesus in the most tangible way, to my pre-adolescent self, it would be this woman.
I remember standing by her hospital bed, her face beaming at me, wanting to know how I was doing, how were the other kids in the Sunday school class, the class she could no longer teach because her cancer had returned. We talked and talked and I felt seen and heard and loved during that visit; it would be the last time I would see her.
Before I left her room, she motioned to a crucifix on the wall, “I’ve been telling the nurses to take it off the wall so I can have it closer to my bed,” she paused, a twinkle in her eye, “and after they leave, I pick at it, trying to get Jesus off the cross because he isn’t there anymore!”
I smiled at this, and for many years, I often thought of my 5th grade Sunday school teacher whenever I saw an empty cross hanging in the evangelical churches I attended throughout my life.
The risen Christ, that’s what she clung to, that is what gave her hope, and today, I too, find hope in the risen Christ.
And yet, several years ago, the empty cross began to mean less and less to me.
[Read the rest here. Part of the "From Grape Juice to Red Wine" series hosted by Carly Gelsinger.]