Saturday, July 6, 2013

Today in Paradise

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:39-43

People come from all over to discover this little town. The pour off the cruise ships, arriving on orange lighters to eat, shop and collect all the Alaskan experience they can in a few hours. In their minds it is a sort of paradise, a place far removed from their everyday life. And yet our everyday life is right here and some days are very everyday.

We hear the words of Jesus today as he hangs dying on the cross. A man who has committed horrible crimes asks to be remembered. For all the terrible things he has done, as Jesus writhes in agony, he forgives and makes a place for his fellow suffers. He declares with the little breath he has that this man will today be in paradise with Jesus. The ache and agony are real as is God's promise to the man and to us. We can search the wide world for paradise, or seek God's love in our lives, and know it today. We can labor or steal, sweat and connive, or we can simply as God every morning. We are invited to chose God every morning, living in the loving paradise of Christ.

Today I ask God to help me see the paradise that surrounds us. May we celebrate God's love for us, recognizing how blessed we are. May we awake every morning seeking God, knowing that today we will be walking in paradise with Christ.

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