Further Up and Further In

Grace Claus

READ : John 21:24-25 The world itself could not contain the books that would be written. (v. 25) When I read this verse, I imagine an endless library, with room after room of floor-to-ceiling shelves of books, with nooks and rolling ladders, with magical light that pours in and invites readers to linger forever. And I imagine that readers enter and explore it, all the while calling out the same words that echo through the end of C. S. Lewis’s …

Persuasion

Grace Claus

READ : John 20:30-31 But these are written so that you may believe. (v. 31) In fifth grade, we learned to write persuasive essays. They were five paragraphs long, with an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The introductory paragraph included our thesis statement, which laid out the argument we were attempting to make. Each body paragraph began with a topic sentence that explained what that paragraph would cover. And the conclusion always restated the thesis and began …

Extravagant Gestures

Grace Claus

READ : John 19:38-42 A mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about seventy-five pounds. (v. 39) Seventy-five pounds! Can you imagine Nicodemus lugging seventy-five pounds of burial balms to the outskirts of town? I picture him with a jug on his shoulder, pausing occasionally to shift the bulk to his other shoulder. Not until he arrives at the cross, where Jesus’ lifeless form still hangs, can Nicodemus finally unburden himself and drop the jug at Jesus’ feet. But what a …

Whatever You Wish

Grace Claus

READ : John 15:1-11 Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (v. 7) Once when I was six years old, as my family was driving home at twilight, I looked out the window from the backseat and noticed the first star of the evening come out. I whispered to myself, “Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.” I squeezed my …

Free to Serve

Grace Claus

READ : John 13:1-20 Knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands. (v. 3) By him all things were created, in heaven and on earth . . . all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. . . . In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things (Col. 1:16-17, 19-20, emphasis added). …