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About 6:00 A.M. on a Wednesday morning James Lawson of Running Springs, California (in the San Bernardino mountains) left home to apply for a job. About an hour later his thirty-six-year-old wife, Patsy left for her fifth grade teaching job down the mountain in Riverside, accompanied by her two children, five-year-old Susan and two-year-old Gerald, to be dropped off at the babysitter’s.

Unfortunately, they never got that far. Eight and a half hours later the man found his wife and daughter dead in their wrecked car, upside down in a cold mountain stream. His two-year-old son was just barely alive in the forty-eight degree water.

But in that death the character of a mother was revealed in a most dramatic and heart-rending way. For when the father scrambled down the cliff to what he was sure were the cries of his dying wife, he found her locked in death, holding her little boy’s head just above water in the submerged car. For eight and a half hours Patsy Lawson had held her beloved toddler afloat and had finally died, her body almost frozen in death in that position of self-giving love, holding her baby up to breathe. She died that another might live. That’s the essence of a mother’s love.

And that is the essence of Jesus'love for us. He died so that we might live. "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit." (I Peter 3:18) That is what we remember at communion--Christ dying so that we all might live.

SOURCE: James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited, published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, 1988; pg. 375). Edited for communion by SermonCentral Staff.

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