"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." (Mark 13:31)
There is a lot happening, a lot on the news, all of which require decisions on the changes needing to be made. Some changes, like sheltering in place and no "in person" worship, are made for us while deciding to stay in (read, TV, quilt, knit?) or go outside (yard work, wave at the neighbors, walk?) we can decide. Being Caregivers may make some of the decisions easier, or more difficult, depending on how it affects "our" person or people. I know quite a few who are only able to see their loved one via technology or through a window - even if they are still in the same community.
With everything happening it is easy to get very frustrated, even angry, and scared. Who do we believe? As we follow the instructions to "social distance," stay home, and not gather in groups do we remember to check on the neighbor, family member or friend living a lone? Do we remember God's Commandment to "love our neighbor as ourselves"?
The Gospel reading, this morning, in Mark is reminding us God knows the timing, of various things (especially when Christ will return) even when we don't. God is also reminding us God's Word IS with us. We can depend on, believe in and follow God but do we? God keeps God's promises!!
"Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before." (Joshua 3:4a)
"Never been this way before" fits just about every thing happening around us today even though Joshua was speaking to the Hebrew people about to enter a 'new' land. We are also entering 'new' things from social distancing (hard for those of us who like hugs!) to working from home (easier for those of us who do it a lot anyway). Add to this the concern we have for the 'safety' of those we love and it is definitely 'new' territory.
Joshua is telling the people to follow the "ark of the covenant of the Lord your God" (vs. 3) so they will "know which way to go" (vs. 4). Mark 12:29-31 has Jesus reminding all of us we are to "love God with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength and our neighbor as ourselves." We are still to be following where God is leading - even if it is into 'new' lands.
As Caregivers we are already 'taking care' of our neighbor (family?) so we are following - at least to some extent. In this time of change, however, we have the choice of "how" we follow where God is leading. We have the choice of attitude. What is our attitude? Are we charting a new course? Or are we sinking?
March 15th, 2020
"Joshua told the people, 'Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.'" (Joshua 3:5)
There are so many things happening so fast it is hard to keep up as well as being both confusing and a little scary. At the same time we have Emmanual - God with us - so we know we have the power of the Holy Spirit "in" us. There are times, though, when I wonder if others see what we know we have. Do others see how we are staying 'calm'? Do they see why? Do they wonder how we can get done everything we can get done?
I saw a story, this week, about spilling coffee - not because someone bumped us but because coffee is what was in the cup. The question raised was "what is in our cup"? What do other people see as pressure builds? When our thoughts, and feelings, 'spill out' are they related to God and God's power in us? If God's Love IS in us (which I really believe!) then when a crisis hits what is the reaction others see us having?
Staying strong, in our relationship with God, is how we can keep ourselves filled with not only God's strength (for all the things we need to get done) but God's peace (that passes understanding). It is how we can get all the things done we get done AND stay calm. It is how we can show God's love to the ones asking the questions and to the people we care for. What is in you? What is in your cup?
"But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant...." Mark 10:43
As Caregivers serving isn't usually an issue. We ARE serving! We are taking care of the "care recipient" and probably quite a few others besides - right? There are, probably, even some days we would like to "serve" less. This is when we stop and remember another verse "Take my yoke upon you..... for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:29-30) We remember God is our strength.
At the same time we also see Jesus calling to us for a stronger relationship with God. The reading, this morning in Isaiah, points out God's thoughts (and ways) are "higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:9) God is asking us to follow (like last week!) sometimes without understanding the where OR the how. God is asking us to do - to serve so we can show how awesome God's love IS.
So the questions for us, as Caregivers, is our attitude. Do we remember, or even think about, how BIG our God is? Are we keeping our relationship with God strong? What is our attitude?
"Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Mark 10:21)
The first Sunday in March, the first Sunday in Lent and Jesus is asking us to "follow" Him? The Lenten discipline I have been suggesting is prayer - to be praying for where God is leading us, individually. We have to start with changing ourselves before we can begin to change anyone else. So strengthening our relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit IS changing us.
There are two problems here....... The young man goes away "sorrowfully" because he has 'great possessions.' The first problem is, even though we may not have 'great possessions', we don't like change. It is hard to make the changes needed (which we also don't like) so we struggle at making said changes. The second problem is the change could be something new. Then it is an even bigger problem! Now we have change AND new things mixed in with difficult......
Brings us back to what Jesus says "Follow me." It isn't a question! But my question, to you, is are you "going away sorrowfully" or are you following where God is leading?
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.