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The Full Extent of His Love

DBEndings say a lot about what went before.

I saw this personally and painfully as I conducted the memorial service of my 36-year-old nephew this week. A brave fire-fighter, a loving husband, a dedicated father, a real friend.

David died as he had lived, spending his life-currency on others.

The real stuff—the core of what we leave behind as legacy—surfaces in these moments of closure. Our impact on life is summed up with our imprint on people.

The indelible mark David left on those closest to him became obvious as he was remembered.

The memorial tribute from his family and friends, especially from his firefighter brothers, was one of the most moving things I’ve seen in my 55 years.

The procession that stopped traffic. The starched uniforms and measured salutes of the honor guard. The flag presented to my precious niece, Lenae. His helmet gifted to their amazing boys, Gauge, Gavin and Garen. The last alarm and 911 call that ushered him to his home quarters.

All these traditions trumpeted the respect, admiration and affection that David left in his wake.

If final things are ultimate things, David’s life had etched love forever on the hearts of so many.

It isn’t surprising.

He was inspired by and in love with Someone whose legacy we also celebrate this week.


“The full extent of His love…” (John 13:1)

That’s what John said Jesus showed the disciples in the upper room while celebrating His last Passover. The best rendering of the phrase from the original is “He now showed them how utterly He loved them.”

His last moments were the concentration and distillation of a love that spanned both time and eternity.

It’s what Christians commemorate today, Maundy Thursday. The word comes from the Latin mandatum, which means “commandment”. Maundy Thursday remembers the command Jesus gave his disciples to love each other exactly the way He loved them.

And at the last supper, He showed them what that love looked like by book-ending the epic moments with two of the most powerful acts He ever performed.

He began by donning a towel and washing the disciples’ feet. Elevating servanthood to a living extension of the spirit of the Trinity, Jesus was showing His disciples that real love rolled up its sleeves and got its hands dirty.

Then he ended the time by giving them a parting gift: Holy Communion or Eucharist. It was something to remember him by…a memento of mercy. And he wanted them to do it often so they would never forget how very much God loved them.

Much as David’s memorial was a reminder of what he lived for far more than that he had died, so the Upper Room (the Last Supper) was a condensed version of all Jesus’ life had meant.

As we reflect today, let’s embrace the full extent of His love so that we can be carriers of that love and presence in our hurting, helpless world.

In This Moment

Here in this moment
With bread and with wine,
I come to remember
All you have made mine.
Freedom and healing
Forgiveness and grace,
Sonship and favor
When you took my place.

I remember the garden, the cross and the thorns,
I remember the heartbreak, the shame and the scorn.
I remember the blood that was shed on the that tree
In this moment, I remember you did that for me.

Here at this altar
With hope and with thanks,
I come to remember
How you’ve filled my days.
With purpose and meaning
Acceptance and faith,
Mercy and promise
In the light of your face.

I remember the garden, the cross and the thorns,
I remember the heartbreak, the shame and the scorn.
I remember the blood that was shed on the that tree
In this moment, I remember you did that for me.

–words & music by Michael W. Thompson


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