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Sunset invitation

An unexpected moment becomes an opportunity to share Jesus.

During my working days, I was privileged to travel to Hungary. One Saturday the opportunity was open to be a tourist before the flight home.

Budapest is a fascinating city filled with ancient buildings, bridges, and a castle on the hill. The city is really two cities, Buda and Pest, set on two sides of the Danube River, connected by the Chain Bridge.

My colleague, Leslie*, and I walked over the bridge and took the cog train to see the castle in Buda. Later in the afternoon we returned to the city center in Pest. The sun was going down. As we came around a corner, we were delighted by a spectacular view of the architecture in the city square. The long boulevard was designed to focus the viewers’ attention at a particular place as the shadows enclosed the street in hues of purple and gray.

The top of the towering church, St. Stephen, had a brilliant glow in the sunlight. A carved set of words above the giant, arched front door gleamed high over the surrounding buildings. Gold leaf accentuated the effect. As the sun glinted brightly on the lofty golden letters, we were both stunned by the contrast against the shadows of the buildings standing at attention in rows along the boulevard.

We squinted to see the glistening words, clearly another language.

“I wonder what language that is?” Leslie said to me.

“It’s Latin,” I said. The words were simple but powerful.

She said, “Well, you studied Latin in school.” Amazing the things you tell colleagues that they remember! She went on, “Can you read it and interpret for me?”

As I read Ego Sum Via Vetitas et Vita, I thought about the throngs of people who had seen this but did not understand what they read. How much they were missing!

I said, “Well, they’re the words of Jesus from the Bible in the book of John. It says, ‘Ego Sum—I am, Via—the Way, Veritas—the Truth, et Vita—and the Life.’ ” I added, “Right after that, Jesus says, ‘No one comes to the Father except through me.’ ”

Her eyes opened wide. She said, “In this day and age, do you really believe those words?”

All I could answer was, “Yes . . . with all my heart.”

She got quiet and didn’t seem receptive to talking more about it as she got distracted by a large bronze statue. The sculptor had named it The Fat Policeman. It was a great place for a photo op! Leslie came close while I snapped the selfie. Pictures and jokes about her new “man” abounded, some of them at the expense of the bronze Fat Policeman. We stopped for dinner and walked back to our hotel.

The next day, as I was putting in my earbuds to listen to Time of Grace, she asked me if she could listen too. It was a short 15-minute segment. She was impressed by two things: how the pastor talked only of Jesus, and how short it was—even with a prayer! I could hardly contain myself but remained calm. God works in mysterious ways.

While waiting to board the plane the next day we chatted about our trip, and St. Stephen’s came up again.

“What questions do you have about the golden Bible passage or Time of Grace?” I asked. We chatted about the surprise at sunset and Time of Grace ministry. Later she asked me to pray for her to find another man. This was tongue in cheek as she reminisced that I had prayed with her after her husband died. She liked the comfort it brought her.

Back at work, the trip remained a pleasant memory of work and play.

That was ten years ago. Since then, I retired and kept up my relationship with Leslie only through social media. Out of the blue three years ago, Leslie posted a “Happily Married” picture with her new man. Apparently, God heard my prayer!

I have since lost touch, but I do know that God led me to invite Leslie to see Jesus with just a few words when neither of us was expecting it. I pray that someone else is working on the reaping.

And then again, might it be that my remembering is an urging from the Spirit to get back in touch with her to see how her faith walk is doing? Could I use the memory to share the rest of the words Jesus shared with his disciples?

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:1-6)

Whom have you invited in the past that could use another invitation to “come and see” today? Father, give us the courage to show others the way to you and speak about your Son and our Savior, Jesus.

*Name has been changed

This article is adapted and reprinted with permission from

Author: Marilyn Sievert
Volume 108, Number 08
Issue: August 2021

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