April 16, 2022
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson, retired
WTS DMin, 1993; retired Bishop; home conference is the Baltimore Washington Conference
The Heart has Eyes
God of “Second Chances” ~ I Peter 4:6
Easter Saturday is often a day when church leaders are rushing around preparing for Easter Sunday services. However, to jump from Good Friday to Easter Sunday is a missed opportunity to savor the mystery and wonder of God’s relentless, unending love for all of creation. In this love is a neon billboard reminder of God’s plan of redemption, including those who had already passed. Scripture teaches that Jesus descended to hades to preach salvation on that Holy Saturday (I Peter 4:6). Since the creation of the world God has been working for reconciliation, redemption, and peace for all.
In the Book of Genesis (8:11) we read how Noah sent out a dove to learn if the flood waters had receded. On the second attempt, the dove returns with an olive twig in its beak. This tiny leaf has often been interpreted as a symbol of peace. The seal of the United States of America depicts an eagle with an olive branch in one claw and arrows in the other.
This tiny olive leaf on Easter Saturday is more of a symbol of God’s endless capacity for offering us second chances for new life even in death, for reminding us that even in our worst storms, faults and failures, God is still with us, healing, restoring, and resurrecting.
Reflection: Where have you seen an olive leaf of “second chances” in your darkest hour and where can you offer a sign of hope for those in need?