Gift of love

At Barcelona's Sagrada Familia, photographed May 2008, exterior sculptures tell the story of Jesus.

I took this photo in May 2008 at Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia,
where exterior sculptures tell the story of Jesus.

Your gift of love, they crucified
They laughed and scorned Him as He died
The humble King they named a fraud
And sacrificed the Lamb of God. Twila Paris

This Easter weekend, I am going to quote verses from some hymns I love that seem especially fitting for this season.  Of all the most powerful ways to defeat despair, the singing of “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” is perhaps my favorite.  This simple, beautiful tribute written by Twila Paris is a song we sing often at church, but no matter how often we sing it, I cannot get through it without tears.

I will always be grateful for having grown up in a church that taught singing as something that belonged to the entire congregation, not just a select and talented few in a choir or band.  Because everybody was expected to sing, the emphasis was on the meaning and spirit behind the songs rather than on the performance.  Sometimes this produced uneven results, particularly in smaller groups, yet it instilled in me a readiness to sing despite not being musically gifted.  More importantly, it planted the words to countless songs deep in my heart, allowing me to sing these songs from memory whenever I most need their messages.
As a child, I never understood why this day was called “Good Friday.” What could possibly have been good about it?  It took me many years to begin to understand the profound truths underlying the themes of redemption through suffering, and joy that can be borne only of pain.  Although I still have a long way to go before I fully comprehend the beautiful words of Isaiah 53, I can find a comfort in them today that I scarcely imagined when my life was more innocent and carefree.

Today, I encourage you to remember with me the transient nature of this life, and for those of us who are Christians, to reflect on the blessed mystery of a God who was willing to become one of us, even to the point of a gruesome and humiliating death.

Last year on Good Friday:

Just three days


  1. Amy

    What a beautiful post. Have a wonderful weekend. God bless.

    • Thank you – the same to you and your family!

  2. Beth

    It’s as if you’ve read my mind. 🙂 thank you for today’s beautiful message!

    • You’re welcome, Beth! I’m so happy to have you here sharing it with us. ❤

  3. raynard

    Good Morning Julia. As Im going to work later this afternoon, I’m grateful. For the time to just slow down and reflect that”it’s not about payday or a dayoff. Tomorrow we will be attending a funeral which to me is another time of reflection. This week, I spoke to 2 new young officers where I work. It was exciting to me when I can share encouragement of my life’s journey and story. Kinda like what you do here when I read and respond to your blogs.Are you a part of any other social media like twitter or Google Plus? With your permission, I would love to repost your blogs to my social media in hopes of speading more daily encouragement especially to people I know that can use it. be blessed and Good Friday is always better than good, it’s great. ( sorry for sounding like ‘Tony the Tiger and where are my Frosted Flakes lol

    • Raynard, you are most welcome to re-post these blogs on any social media you choose. I have not yet learned to use Google Plus although I signed up for an account months ago – maybe more than a year. I do use Twitter occasionally though I have to limit my time there, as with Pinterest, because I find so many links I want to explore and just don’t have the time. We are so blessed with a wealth of good and useful information at our fingertips! Thank you for reminding me that Good Friday is indeed GREAT Friday – the transcendent nature of what happened on this day could never be over-stated. I hope you have a blessed Easter weekend!

  4. Beverley

    Haven’t commented for quite some time but have always appreciated your faithfulness to posting daily encouragement. Thank you for this most blessed post, “Gift of Love”.

    • You’re welcome, Beverley; thanks for being here, and for your encouraging comments!

  5. Carlyle

    Thank you for an inspiring Easter message

    • You’re welcome, Daddy! I will be thinking of you and Mama this week, and your examples of courage will be a great help to us.

  6. Julia, How I needed this today.
    Thank you so much for this. Simply beautiful. God’s blessings to you, dear sister.

    • You’re welcome! Thanks for being with us today.

      • A wonderful blog for the day of Christ’s Passion. Christ’s death on the cross brought the end to the finality of death. With it our sins are cleansed away and when we follow Him through death it is but a passing to a new and perfect life.
        A mother suffers the pain in giving birth. Yet when she looks upon her new born child the pain is replaced by joy. As we too undergo the pains of death, as our Lord did. Yet we too are borne to the joy of looking upon Christ as He looks upon us with perfect love.
        I wish you a Blessed Easter and leave you with a poem I wrote some time ago.
        “A Promise”
        Upon a cross a debt was paid and promise made for tortured souls enslaved.
        From an empty tomb, as if a womb, emerged the promise kept.
        And by it we are saved.

        • Alan, thank you so much for this encouraging message and beautiful poem. I wish you a blessed Easter weekend!

      • Julia, thank you so so much for your encouraging words. It was a great comfort. In fact, I’m using the song “Lamb of God” for a widows luncheon I’m doing this week. God bless you.

        • I am so happy that you found it helpful! I hope your luncheon goes well. Thanks for being here with us.

  7. MaryAnn

    It is still impossible for me to wrap my brain around how God loves me so much, that He would sacrifice His Son! He chooses us! How marvelous!

    • Thank you, Mary Ann – Amen!

  8. Sheila

    Julia, your “Gift of love” was such an inspirational message today. Good Friday always feels so different from any other day to me. Throughout the day,I found myself pondering about this special day and the wonder of it all. I pray this weekend will give you and your family renewed strength for the upcoming week. . 🙂

    • Thank you Sheila. Ever since I was a very young child, and we would sing “up from the grave he arose” in church (which was the first favorite hymn I can remember), I always felt the suspenseful anticipation of the Easter story, which mirrors so many life experiences – hopes dashed only to be revived again. How fitting that it comes for us in springtime, especially after a winter (and a year) such as we have had! I hope you have a weekend full of peace, contemplation and love!

  9. Michael

    Beautiful song that I am not that familiar with. I also like Mandisa- former American idol runner up- song,” I’m an Overcomer.” Perhaps a little too upbeat for Easter?

    • Michael, no such thing as “too upbeat for Easter” — it’s the ultimate victory party! I will try to look up that song. I’ve never watched American Idol, though people have sent me some great videos from it.

  10. Michael
    • Thanks for the link Michael. I wasn’t familiar with that singer, but she is very appealing.

  11. I think the older I get the more I understand. I used to think “why on EARTH did Jesus do that?” but now I am starting to get the idea. We live next door to a very old (still utilised) church that was built by convict labour. They will be celebrating Easter with song today and we get to hear it on Serendipity Farm. Worth stopping the lumberjacking for a few hours to say the least 🙂

    • I agree, it does start to make better sense as we get older and experience the HUGE mystery of life. The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know! How wonderful that you live next door to an old church, especially one that is still active. The music must be lovely to hear. Happy Easter!

      • Happy Easter right back at you 🙂 It’s lovely at Christmas time as well 🙂

        • Oh, I can just imagine how beautiful it must sound! Music is my favorite thing about Christmas, and I’m crazy about Christmas, so that’s saying a lot. I bet in your part of the world you even have flowers blooming at Christmas! All kinds of beauty to enjoy.

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