Hmmm...what would you say? You have received the gift of life, not just here while you are on terra firma, but the gift of eternal life with God—which Paul has described in the first three chapters of the book of Ephesians. Yours for the taking, through the abundant grace and love of God. In the last three chapters of this beautiful letter of Ephesians, you will learn how to respond . . . how to appropriate that grace in day-to-day living out of your relationship with God. But first, let’s think of how many people you know who have no idea whatsoever how to be in relationship with the God of the Universe, either in the here and now, or forever. Are you thinking? Are you seeing faces? Because the great love of God always sees faces—individual faces. Perhaps you see the face of your mother, your son, your mate, the guy you work with, the woman you work for, your neighbor or someone else entirely. Here is my real-life question--if that person was suddenly looking death in the face, could you connect him with the greatest Love ever known—the relentless love of God? [This comes out of a conversation I just had with one of you!] I have been there, and had that privilege of connecting that sweet soul with the One whose love endures forever. To be present at such an intimate time, to be in the position to speak life to that person at that time is the rarest of gifts. It is a time of intimacy… a hushed, sacred sweetness. What would you say? The scenario might roll out in various iterations, such as in the call I received and the question ‘can you go and see my dad? I don’t know how much longer he has, and I do not think he knows God.’ Or ‘Hey, Christine, my Uncle Chuck said you can come – will you? He has been an atheist for decades, a gay man who hated Christians – but he wants you to come … so, will you?’ ‘Of course I will’ – and I did. ‘Chuck’ was dying. He knew it, I knew it. I also knew that I represented everything he had hated for years, everything he had felt judged by… and yet, he had wanted me to come and be with him, to pray for him. A privilege? Yes, Ma’am. Like no other really. Hallowed ground. What would you say to him? After speaking softly to him for a little while, he wanted to hold my hand. And in time I asked ‘so, Chuck, all of us will one day breathe our last here on earth . . . and then what? Do you think there is something on the other side? I mean, is it possible we might live on in eternity and there is a Heaven?’ Only God himself could explain why this fellow would squeeze my hand… And only a loving God would orchestrate a scene whereby Chuck would both hear and receive from me. It was a meeting of hearts and souls. He weakly responded, ‘I’d like to think so, yes…’ ‘Well then, after you draw your last breath here, will you draw your next in Heaven?’ ‘But how can I?’ By believing in Jesus Christ. So I explained a little more. "Chuck, there is little dispute today that Jesus was an actual historical figure who lived and died and was resurrected. Truth is, folks do not have much gripe with Jesus—it is the Church that gives ‘em trouble. One night, a legalistic, religious leader came to talk to Jesus because he wanted to know him. Jesus explained to the man that God loved him so much he had sent his only Son—the one to whom the man was speaking—so that whoever believed in him would have eternal life.2 Note: This was and is an individual choice. a personal invitation to anyone and everyone who believes." "And then there was the exchange between Jesus and the thief who hung on the cross next to him. As the man watched and listened to Jesus, he realized Jesus was indeed the Son of God and said to him, ‘Remember me when you come into your kingdom,’ to which Jesus replied, Today you will be with me in Paradise.’3 Just believe. Accept his gift of grace.’" "Jesus is the bridge from this life to eternity in Heaven. Do you want to meet him today so that you can be with him forever in Heaven? Then just tell him, Chuck." And. He. Did.4 Now, do you know what to say if you are given the beautiful opportunity? Check out this sweet ol' song, In a Little While: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=476Izn-VyJU Peace and grace to you, Christine p.s. I love hearing from you 1 – Ephesians 2.8-9 2 – John 3.16 3 – Luke 23.39-43 4 - Because nothing imperfect can be in the presence of God, the work of Jesus, the sinless Son of God on the cross enables us to be cleansed from sin - all because of grace, not because of any good thing we can do. Jesus did it all for us. But we do have to choose him, ask him to forgive our sins...and he will. He comes, extending life eternal. It is beautiful--not about religion, all about relationship.