In a drawer in a safe at Christ Church are several pearls. They are part of an old necklace that belonged to a maiden parishioner whose belongings were willed to the church when she passed away more than 20 years ago.
They're not in great shape, nor particularly valuable as jewelry. But they represent someone who was deeply loved by many of that church.
Jesus speaks of God's kingdom by talking about a merchant on a journey who finds a pearl of great value. He sells all he has and returns to buy that one pearl.
The events of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter are God's way of showing us that the valuable pearl is us. The merchant is God's Son. He "sells" all he has to acquire us.
Like those pearls in the drawer, we may not seem particularly beautiful or valuable. But to God we are people of infinite value and worth.
The Father raised Jesus from the grave to show that his offer of eternal life, of everlasting companionship with God and one another is what God most longs for.
And deep inside if we will allow ourselves to set aside our fears that this can't possibly be true; if we remove our cynical shell that keeps us from ever really giving ourselves deeply to Christ; if we move past the fear of possible hurt and grief - we will find that we are the pearl so valuable to God, and that God is the pearl we tried to find in other activities and pleasures that never quite satisfied us.
Jesus knew his life would end and he made it count. May we know that our lives will end and make them count.
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."