Jess' Communion

Back on June 29th, Mat and Jess Richards (you may remember Mat) gave the communion talk. What Jess had to say moved me, because the story she told was months old and hadn't directly affected her. Yet, she shared with tears how it pointed her, and continued to point her, to Christ. The story had moved me at the time, but I had forgotten it. Jess hadn't and because of that, God once again can use it to draw us to Him. With her permission, here is what she shared:

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God's condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
Romans 5:6-11 New Living Translation

Sometimes things happen that cause us to think about God in a different way. One such thing happened to me a couple months ago and it has been on my heart to share since then.

On April 11th the following story was printed in the Columbus Dispatch:

The 8-year-old boy lay in an intensive care unit bed last night, swathed in bandages, hooked to machines and comforted by relatives.

Second-grader Christian Engle, suffering broken bones and a concussion, hardly stirred. He held his mother's hand with his left hand, the good one. Much of his right side wasn't so fortunate. The injuries were serious, but he was alive. He has Dianna L. Sharp to thank. Sharp took her role as a Hilliard school crossing guard seriously.

As the crossing guard at Scioto-Darby Elementary School, she would usher her young charges safely across Scioto Darby Road each morning and again each afternoon, parents and neighbors said. And some of those children would take the short walk to Sharp's home after school, where she would keep them safe until their parents could pick them up, they said.

Yesterday, shortly after 9 a.m., Sharp paid the ultimate price as a protector of those children. Realizing that a dump truck bearing down on her and Christian was not going to stop, Sharp either pushed the second-grader clear or shielded him with her own body as the truck slammed into them in a crosswalk in front of the school, Hilliard Police Chief Rodney Garnett said.

Sharp, 41, was flown to Ohio State University Medical Center with severe head injuries. She died there at 10:20 a.m.

Christian's condition had improved from critical to poor last night at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

"She went to swoop him to break the impact," parent Ginger Swank said. "I believe she saved that little boy's life."

At the time I was working as a tutor at one of the high schools in Hilliard. The district notified all employees by e-mail shortly after the accident. I remember thinking about how awful it was. I remember being in awe of the sacrifice she made to save a little boys life.

I spent the rest of the day thinking about what happened. In the middle of the night that night I woke up very upset. The whole situation really affected me and I didn't even know the woman.
I have thought about her many times since then. I think about what her family must be going through to lose a wife or a mother or a daughter or a sister.

I think about what the little boy's parents must feel. Their son is alive because a woman sacrificed her life for him. What would they say to her husband and children?

Another question that comes to mind is "Would I have done the same thing?" I'd like to think I would, but I can't say for sure. I can't picture myself jumping out in front of any moving vehicle, especially a dump truck.

Maybe I would for a child. I hope I would for a child. Would I for an adult that is a stranger? Would I do it for an elderly person? Would I do it for a man that I just saw steal a woman's purse? In what situation would I be willing to risk dying for someone else?

Will the little boy grow up understanding that he is alive because someone died for him? How will his knowledge of her sacrifice affect his life?

Diana Sharp's sacrifice has been in my thoughts for almost three months now. What she did has caused me to reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made for me. I understand in my head that Jesus died for me, but I don't always understand it in my heart. It doesn't always seem real. I was so worked up over this woman and her sacrifice, but why don't I always feel that way about the ultimate sacrifice that was made? The one that was made for me.

I change my questions. How would Jesus' father feel about losing a son? And then I remember that God sent his Son to die for me.

How do I feel about Jesus dying so that I can live? What do I say to His father?

And then the really hard part to wrap my brain around: the fact that God willingly sent his son to die for me while I was His enemy. I didn't do anything to deserve it. Will I grow up as a disciple understanding in my heart, and not just my mind, that I am alive because Jesus died for me? How will my understanding of His sacrifice affect my life? I hope that it does.

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