It is said that Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, once had captured a prince and his family. When they came before him, the monarch asked the prisoner, “What will you give me if I release you?”
“The half of my wealth,” was his reply.
“And if I release your children?” Cyrus asked.
The prisoner replied with, “Everything I possess.”
“And if I release your wife?”
“Your Majesty, I will give myself.” Cyrus was so moved by his devotion that he freed them all. As they returned home, the prince said to his wife, “Wasn’t Cyrus a handsome man!”
With a look of deep love for her husband, she said to him, “I didn’t notice. I could only keep my eyes on you—the one who was willing to give himself for me.”
What draws our eye? What keeps our attention? What preoccupies our thoughts? Is it the things of this world? Things that make our lives comfortable…possible…entertaining? Are the worries of our hearts so oppressive that we can’t shake them? We can’t sleep peacefully. We can’t keep a straight thought because that worry is always in the background of our minds.
Maybe its people that dominate our thoughts. The people we love. The people we hate. The people we love to hate. The celebrities of stage and screen. The titans on the athletic field or in the halls of government. Maybe its people who are the weakest or the poorest. What preoccupies our thoughts? What keeps our attention? What draws our eye?
It is the end of Lent. Soon, Holy Week will begin. The pageantry of Palm Sunday. The sanctity of Maundy Thursday. The somberness of Good Friday. The elation of Easter Sunday. These days remind us of what Jesus was willing to do to make us His. He wasn’t willing to give half of creation for us. He wasn’t willing to give all He possessed. He was only willing to give Himself, completely for you and me. How can the eyes of our faith not turn to Him? How can our attention not be kept by the perfect love of Christ? How can our thoughts be not preoccupied by Christ alone—the One who gave Himself for us.
Trinity First School is coming to St. James to sing on Sunday, April 12. They will sing 3 to 4 songs as part of our worship that day. Because of the number of kids and adults and the logistics involved with this particular group of visitors, we will have a worship service of the word with no communion. We will also reserve the entire pulpit side of the church for the children, teachers and volunteers to sit during worship. We look forward to this special occasion.