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Lenten Devotional – Day 37 – The Pontiff’s Hat

Scripture: Psalm 30: 2–5

Lord my God, I called out to you for help.
    And you healed me.
Lord, you brought me up from the place of the dead.
    You kept me from going down into the pit.

Sing the praises of the Lord, you who are faithful to him.
    Praise him, because his name is holy.
His anger lasts for only a moment.
    But his favor lasts for a person’s whole life.
Weeping can stay for the night.
    But joy comes in the morning.

It had been a hard winter filled with deep personal losses and my heart yearned for signs of new life but she didn’t know that when we were seated at her table in a small restaurant in a southern historic town that spring day.

I love napkin folds and was intrigued by the exquisite design of the one on my plate. “It’s the Pontiff’s Hat,” she said, as I asked her to teach me. She nimbly reassembled the unfolded napkin and then patiently proceeded to show me step by step. The restaurant was filled with tourists, but she managed to stop by our table to check on my progress while very efficiently serving others.

By the end of the meal, I had mastered the techniques of the Pontiff’s Hat, but, more importantly, and unknowingly, I had started the beginning of a life-time friendship with Dora. Her smile and patience  brought healing that day. And, over time, we continued to stop by Dora’s table on our way south in the spring and have exchanged notes and Christmas cards for almost 15 years now.

God brings sunshine and joy into our lives through many avenues – including folding a napkin into the shape of the Pontiff’s Hat.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for the extraordinary healing powers you have given to those around us, who, when we least expect it, bring joy in the morning.

  – Gayle Fiser – Little Rock, Arkansas

 

 

 

 

 

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:55

55 “Death, where is the victory you thought you had?
    Death, where is your sting?” (Hosea 13:14)

In a rural parish, I got a call from a mother one night to come and visit her home. Her grown son had an inoperable brain tumor. He was growing blind.  His cancer was causing him to act violently.

I went and sat calmly with the man and continued to sit and be present with him until he grew peaceful. After that, his mother would call me each time he had a seizure. And I would sit with him until he grew peaceful. This continued until he died.

In the midst of that suffering, there was one unique season of healing. The young man wrote personal letters to a number of people who were important to him. He asked me to deliver the sealed envelopes. I later heard from many of the recipients how the letters expressed love, asked forgiveness, and offered comfort.

1 Corinthians 15:55 –  “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”

In the midst of that suffering, there was one unique season of healing. The young man wrote personal letters to a number of people who were important to him. He asked me to deliver the sealed envelopes. I later heard from many of the recipients how the letters expressed love, asked forgiveness, and offered comfort.

After the young man’s death, his mother often told me how much she loved me. She would grab me, hug me, and cry whenever she saw me.  The young man turned his time of suffering into an opportunity for sharing reconciliation and hope. The visit of a pastor reminded mother and son that
the scarred but risen Lord was present with them. Death finally gave way to healing peace.

Prayer: Loving God, we pray for courage to face suffering and faith to overcome it.

  – Norman Tippens – Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina

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