“Is it Finished?”

Early in the 1920s, Puccini set out to write what was to become his final opera. He called it Turandot. All but the final duet and the fina- le were completed when he was diagnosed with cancer. In November 1924, he was taken to Brussels where he died of heart failure five days after surgery. The opera [Turnadot] was completed by Puccini devotee Franco Alfano using Puccini’s notes, and in 1926 the premiere perfor- mance took in Milan, Italy. Puccini’s long-time friend Arturo Toscanini directed the unfinished opera.

When Toscanini got to the place in the score where Puccini had left off, Toscanini stopped the orchestra, his face wet with tears, and spoke these words to the audience: “The opera is ending here because at this point, the Maestro died.” In memory of Puccini, the audi- ence broke into one of the most moving ovations in La Scala’s history.

Puccini’s unfinished work could never be completed in a way that matched the genius of the master composer. But without friends to finish his composition, it also could never have been performed for audiences around the world to enjoy. What kind of a friend does Jesus have in us, who know His work?” Will we help finish that work which is not yet done? Or, “Will we let that work go?”

The word “disciple”— one devoted to the teachings of Jesus– is used 269 times in the New Testament. The word “Christian” is found only three times – the word “member” as we know it, is not found any- where! The New Testament is a book about disciples, written by disci- ples, for disciples of Jesus Christ”. It is not about rules and regula- tions…pass or fail…but about ideas that transform the way we think about ourselves, and how we relate those principles for living to the world around us. It is about the Spirit of God and how that Spirit trans- forms what we perceive to be “good, acceptable, and perfect” behavior.

Christ has done His job, now it is time to do ours.

Blessed Easter!

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