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Laying down your life

Reverend Wayne Pick
Trinity Lutheran Church, Grant

I have to admit that keeping the theme for this month has been a tough discipline. It is so tempting to break the series and come up with something different.
Have you ever read a book which if your friends found out you would be drummed out of the “man corps”? Well, get your drums ready.
I took the opportunity to read the book by Louisa May Alcott first published in 1868. The book’s name you wonder is none other than Little Women.
Jo, the second oldest is a strong-willed child. She seems to have the most to learn. As a writer and a dramatist, she would prefer to live life through her fanciful stories. However, reality intervenes, calling her to action.
Jo’s father, who has been fighting in the war, is injured and her mother must travel to be with him. The family doesn’t have the funds for Marmee’s train fare, but Jo has the solution. She sells her long, beautiful hair–her one great love–to cover the cost of her mother’s train ticket.
With poignant words the scene unfolds, “As she spoke, Jo took off her bonnet, and a general outcry arose, for all her abundant hair was cut short.” Jo has paid the ultimate price for a young woman of that day so that her parents could be together.
As the scene progresses we see both her courage and her brokenness as she faces the loss of her hair. She wrestles with what she has done, feeling both agony and joy. Ultimately, the blessing of her gift outweighs any feelings of loss. There are no regrets.
The Bible often speaks of this type of sacrifice. You and I are  called to give, not just when it is easy, but when it is most difficult. And, like Jo, we sometimes have to sacrifice the very thing that is most precious to us, the thing that identifies us.
There is no greater love than to give of yourself for others. The Christmastide past once again reminds us of God sending his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might have eternal life. You can read about that in John 3:16.
The Bible also tells us of someone else who knows what it means to give of yourself to others and that person is Jesus the Christ. After all, Jesus gave his very life on the cross so that you, me, all people might spend eternity with him. For the Bible in John 15:13 records the very words of Jesus: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”