"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit," (Matthew 28:19)
Today is Trinity Sunday - reminding us of 3 in 1 and 1 in 3 - "Lord God Almighty, blessed Trinity." There are so many ways we can remind ourselves of the Trinity and be thankful, praising God. One way I especially think of is the prayer shawl/prayer quilt ministry I have been involved in for most of my ministry, Each scarf, shawl and quilt is worked with a multiple of 3 -- a multiple of 3 stitches, for knit or crochet and 3 layers, for a quilt. Each is also filled with our prayers, God's love and our love. They carry our love, and prayers, going out to others.
Today's readings are about remembering who God IS. The Genesis reading is the creation story - "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God." (John 1:1) The Trinity - God the Father (creator), God the Son and God the Holy Spirit - is what Jesus is telling us, in the Gospel to be teaching and baptizing in the name of. (Matthew 28:19 & 20)
The question is where are we going? Can we think about "going" to our families? Maybe our friends? The coffee shop? Our favorite place to grab a bite to eat? Where are we sharing God's love and telling people about KNOWING God IS with us? As Caregivers we rely on God's strength but do we share how we do that with others? Something to think about.........
"By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive." (John 7:39a)
When I say Pentecost what do you think of? The Sunday everyone wheres red? Being the one who has to read all the names, and countries, in Acts 2? The rushing wind, and fire, in Acts 2? The dove descending on Jesus at his baptism? The symbols - fire, wind, dove - used for people to think about the Holy Spirit? Today is the day we celebrate Pentecost which is why I'm asking the question.....
The reading, in Acts, is about Peter standing up to answer the questions of the people gathered together asking questions. There is the wind, and the fire, described on, around and in each of the disciples. There is the ability of each of them to be able to speak in languages the people gathered can understand. There is the description, in 1 Corinthians, of how we can all work together as one body, like the disciples in Acts 2, to help others understand God's love. Jesus is pointing out, in John 7, the gift of the Spirit, to help each of us who are "thirsty for more" to be filled. The Holy Spirit filling us, to overflowing, giving us strength.
In "Dynamite Prayer" (that we read back during Lent) the Greek word for the Spirit is given - dunamis. We get our word "dynamite" from this word. The POWER of the Holy Spirit! Being filled to overflowing with the POWER of the Holy Spirit! Is this what we think of? Can we think of it this way? Definitely something to think about.........
"if you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever-" (John 14:15-16)
Doing? How often (sometimes daily) do we answer the question "what are you doing?" Sometimes it is followed by "can you talk for a few minutes?" Sometimes, like as I left for vacation, it is about what plans are -- "what are you going to do on your vacation?" (I read and knit.) Sometimes, like with the new graduates, it is "what will you be doing now?" So...what is your answer?
The readings, today, are about doing. Are we doing what God is asking us to do? In Acts we are reminded we are "God's offspring" (Acts 17:29) and God "commands all people everywhere to repent." (v. 30) In 1 Peter we are told we need to "be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you" why you are following where God is leading. (1 Peter 3:15) In our Gospel reading Jesus is telling us "if you love me, keep my commands." (John 14:15) Are we "Loving God with our heart, soul, mind and strength" (Deuteronomy 6:5) and keeping the Commandments? IF we are doing these things are we able to answer questions about "why"?
As Caregivers we are pretty busy "doing" every day. Are we taking time to stop and listen for what God is asking us to do? Can we answer the question of "why"? Something to think about......
"Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time?" (John 14:9)
Show me...what are you asking someone to do when you say that? We've talked about it as a way of learning. I know I need to watch what you are doing before I understand something. But what other ways do we think of "show me"? What are some ways we can "show" someone something?
The Scripture readings today are about living our faith. In Acts Stephen is stoned for telling people what he sees while he is "full of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 7:55) Peter is pointing out the need to continue to be fed as we "crave pure spiritual milk" (1 Peter 2:2) so we can be "built into a spiritual house." (1 Peter 2:5) And Jesus is asking if the Disciples have been paying attention because Jesus has been with them so "at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves." (John 14:11) Living our faith as a way of "showing" what God is doing, how God IS with us and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Is this what we are doing? Are we listening for what God is asking us to do AND doing it? Caregivers are busy and tired - I know - but can we at least share when we have felt God's presence and strength? When have we felt closest to Christ? Something to think about.........
Warmth and Meaning...Sharing?
"They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened Scripture to us?"" (Luke 24:32)
How are you doing with reading Scripture? Is it something you've done for quite a while? Is it something you added for Lent? If you started for Lent are you still reading Scripture? Do you use a Bible study with the scripture -- either a book on your own or with a group? I found, with my study of Dynamite Prayer and Draw the Circle, done together daily, that God was definitely "opening" Scripture. (v. 32)
Today's readings are about following Christ. The one I especially want to look at is the two Disciples walking to Emmaus. There are three things I want you to think about with this reading. First..... Jesus joins them where they are. Yes, on the "road to Emmaus." (v. 13) He also is with them as "they stood still, their faces downcast." (v. 17) THEN he walked with them and "opened Scripture." (v. 32) The third thing to notice and think about is after "their eyes were opened" (v. 31) "They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem" (v.33) to share what had happened.
So....... how are you doing with reading Scripture? Are you understanding, following and doing more as you continue to study? Are you sharing where, and how, God IS with you through it? Something to be thinking about..........
"Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means "Teacher"). (John 20:16)
We have talked, before, about the names we answer too so I want you to think for a minute about the name you answer the fastest to. It kind of depends on who is calling your name - right? I can answer, pretty fast actually, when I hear "Grandma!" We don't always, especially when we are upset, hear our given name though. I can remember hearing, but not connecting and answering, to the full list of my names from several people. It usually ends with our full name - first, middle and (sometimes) even our last name - especially when we are upset.
The readings today are talking about following where God is leading, doing what God is asking us to do. In acts we are hearing how the Disciples were "witnesses of everything" Jesus did, of Jesus' death AND of Jesus resurrection. (Acts 10:39) In Colossians we are reminded WE are supposed to thinking about what God is asking us to do because we are "hidden with Christ in God." (Colossians 3:3) Then, in the Gospel, Jesus calls Mary, by name, and she "turns toward him." (v. 16) Mary changes direction from upset and confused to listening and doing.
So..... are we? Throughout Lent we have looked at the POWER we have been given, through the Holy Spirit, to do what God is calling us to - are we doing it? As Caregivers we are tired, upset (a lot of the time), and confused so have we heard God calling? Is our "full" name being used? Something to think about.....
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Ephesians 4:29)
Do you talk to yourself? What do you say to yourself? Are you encouraging or discouraging? Do you tell yourself you can or "can't" do something? When you do tell yourself you can do something is it with positive conviction?
I was recently at a class, for a volunteer group I work with, about "self talk" and how we talk to others. It is amazing how "positive" talk can help another person and our own feelings/work. Sometimes it helps convince us God IS with us and we CAN do this. Sometimes a "positive" talk can remind us to thank God, and others, for the good things happening - even in the midst of bad things happening around us.
Something to think about - especially as we all, pretty much, talk to ourselves. Our we being a "benefit" to those who listen? Are we being a "benefit" to ourselves?
"The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them." (Matthew 21:6)
How did you do with your Lenten discipline? Were you able to "finish" it? Did you do it everyday? Were you able to feel God's presence while you were working on it? Did you share what you were learning or when you DID feel God's presence with you? Did it feel like you were "following" where God was (is?) leading?
The readings today are about following where God is leading. Isaiah is reminding all of us how God IS with us AND God was (is) with Christ as Jesus faced his accusers. (Isaiah 50:7) In Ephesians we see Paul's prayer for all of us to feel the "power through his Spirit in your inner being,". (Ephesians 3:16) The Gospel reading is telling us about Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem but it starts with the "disciples went and did as Jesus instructed them." (Matthew 21:6) Going, doing what Jesus had told them to do. Jesus is preparing them and us to follow, DO what he is asking us to do.
So.... Are we? Are we preparing to follow where God is leading as we celebrate Palm Sunday? As we prepare for the Easter celebration? Like Paul I am praying we are filled with the "power through his Spirit" so we can do "as Jesus instructed." Something to think about....
power... Believe? Testimony?
"I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land." Ezekiel 37:14
How are you at telling stories? How are you at listening to stories? Where are you when you think of stories? Have you ever sat around a campfire and told stories or heard stories? Did they include "ghost" stories? Did you believe an of the stories - even the ones you told? My family, going clear back to the clan in Scotland, are story tellers. We share the stories, and the history, we know.
The readings, today, are about people hearing, seeing and knowing the Spirit of God in us. Ezekiel is reminding the people, for all time, how God has given us His Spirit. (37:14) Romans is reminding us others will see and know the "Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you." (8:11) The Gospel reading is Jesus reminding all of us how God's Spirit guides us even when we answer like Mary and Martha.
The question is...do we believe? Are we telling the story of when, where, and how we have seen God? Can we share our testimonies of God's love and strength? Something to think about......
Power and strength
"We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy." (Colossians 1:11 NLT)
All through Lent we have been talking about, in our Lenten study, the "power of the Holy Spirit" in each of us. With all the winter weather, changing road conditions, busy schedules and trying to "catch up" when the winter weather delays, postpones or cancels something it is VERY easy to get so tired we forget to rely on God's strength. God's "glorious power" does give us "endurance" (just maybe not the patience) to continue every day AND to encourage others. Something to think about.....
Dear God, please fill us to overflowing with your glorious power. Help us to keep moving forward in the care of our loved ones. Help us to continue to encourage others. We pray in the name of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.