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Saturday, March 12

Jesus died for us all 

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” 

John 17:20,21 

My impressions of the Jordan River: brown; not particularly wide; trees and grasses growing on the riverbanks; two young Israeli soldiers absorbed with their cell phones, their rifles by their sides; Jordanian soldiers on the other side of the river.

But my main memories are of a woman in our group read-ing, from our leader’s iPad, scripture about Jesus’ baptism; Michael and I wading in, holding hands to pray; and, most of all, an Asian group of adults and children on the Jordan side, beneath a modest wooden, thatched structure, singing praise songs, clapping and dancing as a man in their group plays guitar.

I was so intrigued, I took video snippets, zooming in to cap-ture their radiant faces. I didn’t understand the words until they got to the jubilant chorus: “Alleluia, oh alleluia, alleluia, oh alleluia.” Watching the video now, I hear that I joined in — spontaneous unity with such joyful fellow believers.

When I hear Jordan Feliz’ “The River” on Christian radio, I turn up the volume because it’s got such a great beat and lyrics, and because it transports me back to the Jordan River.

I experienced a similar awed sense of the globalness of Christ’s followers at Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethle-hem, when members sang in Arabic while we sang in Eng-lish. Also in Capernaum, at the church at the site of Peter’s mother-in-law’s house, where another Asian group rever-ently sang hymns in their language, sounding like a heavenly chorus. It was humbling, and exciting, to be reminded that we Americans don’t have a corner on Christ! He came that EVERYONE might “have life, and have it more abundantly.” He died for the sins of ALL of us.

Jesus, thank You for praying for me as a future believer, be-fore I was even born! May we glorify You as the promised Messiah for the whole world. Amen. 

B.J. Connor

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