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The Seventh Sign

Dear Cathedral Family,

This Sunday, the fifth Sunday in Lent, contains the penultimate (next-to-last) chapter in the story of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry. The gospel story from John 11 is the seventh and final sign in John’s gospel; it is the culmination of signs that point to Jesus’ “glory,” God’s presence in him. This seventh sign shows that Jesus possesses God’s life-giving power, so great that Lazarus, four days dead, is brought back to life.

The ultimate, final chapter of Jesus’ story will culminate in his own resurrection from the dead on Easter Day. It will begin next week on Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week, the beginning of one long chapter that culminates in the Day of the Resurrection. This penultimate chapter prepares us for that ultimate revelation of the loving and life-giving glory of God, the bursting forth of God’s loving presence into all of creation in the risen Christ.

But even that is not the end of the story. Beyond that ultimate revelation lies yet another, larger, yet-to-be-realized culmination, when all of creation is resurrected at Christ’s coming again. The whole of everything will be finally made new, in the completion of an unfolding that we are living even now.

This is the greatest happy ending of the greatest story of all.

I hope that you all will enter fully into these antepenultimate, penultimate, and ultimate moments in our story of life in God as we walk together through the last days of Lent into Holy Week and beyond.




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