LENT: Semicolon

There is a new trend in tattoos lately of people getting a semicolon…it’s meaning actually surrounds the thought of suicide and endings. It is a movement to encourage others who are struggling with circumstances in life or with mental illness with an outward sign to choose another way other than the END.

A semicolon in punctuation actually signifies that the author thought about ending the sentence at the end of that particular statement, but instead felt like there was still more to say……and so they go on.

You can see why this fits into the newer meaning of this in the tattoo realm, but also this semicolon can be used for us to focus on not giving up in other things in life…remembering that perhaps we are not finished just yet with relationships, parenthood, careers, healthy lifestyle changes, friendships, hardships…any task of this world.

Jesus gave a sign of not being quite finished yet between His death and Resurrection. I read about it recently in an article floating around and it was so profound, that I want to share it with you.

Why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection? I never noticed this....

The Gospel of John (20:7) tells us that the napkin, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes. The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded, and was placed separate from the grave clothes.

Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, 'They have taken the Lord's body out of the tomb, and I don't know where they have put him!' Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see.. The other disciple outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen cloth lying there, but he didn't go in.

Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus' head was folded up and lying to the side.

Was that important? Absolutely!

Is it really significant? Yes!

In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition.

When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it..

The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not dare touch that table, until the master was finished. Now, if the master were done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table.

The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, 'I'm done'.

But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table,

because........... The folded napkin meant,

'I'm coming back!'


He gave us a semicolon. It is so important to remember to stay close to Him and reflect on His plan for our life to know about when He wants us to end something in our life…but to trust that His semicolon, His folded napkin means that He’s got bigger, better plans on the horizon.

Wrap it up:

Lord help us to remain close to you as we move on and off this mat.

Help us to trust that You have plans for us, “plans to prosper and not harm us, plans for hope…{semicolon} and a future.”

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