believe? Palms? Parade?
"Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields." Mark 8:11
I love a parade! What about you - do you enjoy parades? I have marched, in a few (I was in the band in high school), and watched a few - on TV and standing on the sidewalk. I have even been able, many years ago (I was 10 or 11 and the MN Gophers were playing in the Rose Bowl) been able to sit on the curb and see the whole Rose Parade. I must admit, however, I prefer to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving, and the Rose, Parade on TV sitting in my chair with my knitting!
Our Gospel reading, this morning, is the recounting of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. The Disciples have found a colt, just as Jesus said, and brought it to Jesus. They have put "cloaks" (v. 7) on the colt and Jesus is riding said colt. People are excited with some going "ahead" and some "following" but all "shouted "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" (v. 9) The branches they "cut in the fields" (v. 8) is where we get the 'palm branches' from as we celebrate "Palm Sunday." Each year, as we celebrate this entry into Jerusalem, I can't help but wonder about the people watching and the shop owners along the way. Did they understand what was happening? Did they believe? Did they shout "Hosanna!"?
As caregivers we are often the ones observing what is happening around us. Do we participate? Do we believe and celebrate? Do we really believe Jesus entered Jerusalem, on a colt with people waiving palm branches and shouting "Hosanna!"? If we really believe it do other people see our belief?
"Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, my servant also will be." (John 12:26a)
Following goes along with both covenant and prayer. Covenant is both a noun - as in an agreement between two parties - and a verb - each party agreeing to do something. Following also goes along with believing. Do we really believe and if we believe are we "agreeing" to follow and be where Jesus is leading? Following also goes with prayer because it is one of the ways we communicate with God as we "make all our wants and wishes known." (Sweet Hour of Prayer verse 1)
The Gospel reading, today, in John 12 is after Jesus has entered Jerusalem. Jesus is answering questions and encouraging people to follow and be where Jesus is calling followers to go. At the same time we need to think about how we are talking to, listening for and following Jesus. NOW is when we can be especially thinking about prayer and if we really believe in it. Jesus taught prayer (Matthew 6:9--13) with daily being part of the idea "give us this day" (Matthew 6:11 emphasis mine) and forgiveness -- "forgive us...as we forgive" (Matthew 6:12) and future "lead us not...". (Matthew 6:13) This is to help us with following as Jesus' servants (John 12:26) to be where Jesus is - saying this prayer DAILY seems like a good idea!
As Caregivers we are, pretty much, already following where God is calling us to go - right? We are taking care of "our people" which means pretty hectic (and full!) schedules. However the time with God, praying this prayer and spending time with (and listening to) God - in God's Word - helps us with both "finding" the time AND with the strength for "our" people and the schedule. Do we REALLY believe?
"But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God." (John 3:21)
Isn't it wonderful to see the sunlight! I can remember, when my son was in grade school (so quite a few years ago!), one year it was stormy, cloudy, raining or snowing from sometime in October until sometime in March. There was NO sunshine! We, as a family, saw sunshine because we had family in VA & NC that we saw at Christmas. That was the year they started doing research on SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder. You can imagine, in March, how happy we were to see sunlight!
This part of the Gospel is Jesus reminding us that he will be "lifted up" so we can believe in him. At the same time we are reminded Jesus is the LIght. (v. 19) We are also reminded how following God, doing what God is calling us to do, shows God's Light (and Love) "so that it may be clearly seen." (v. 21) As Caregivers we are already "giving," and doing, so we can understand doing "what is true." But do we "come to the Light?
The question is -- do we believe it? IF we believe it are we doing it? IS God's Light being "clearly seen"? Definitely something to be thinking about during this Lenten season........
"Then God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God," (Exodus 20:1--2a)
How are you at following directions? I know! We have already said "when all else fails" - right?! But think about trying to get from here (wherever here is) to ________. You can do this with a phone call to the place you are trying to find or a map. OR written directions OR the app on your phone or car. So how are you at actually going the way suggested?
The readings, today, are about believing God is still speaking and having "zeal." (John 2:17) Jesus has just "chased them all out of the Temple." (vs. 15 NLT) The reading, in Exodus, is God giving Moses the Commandments that start off with 4 specific commands about God. Jesus is frustrated with the Temple becoming a "market place." Jesus continued to remind people of God's Commandments: "Love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. And your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37 & 39) A pretty good summation don't you think?
The question is do we believe it? The Disciples did - "after Jesus was raised, the Disciples remembered, and the believed the Scripture...." (John 2:22) We are living "after Jesus was raised" so do we believe? This part of Scripture, this part of the foundation, do we really believe? IF we believe - do we actually "do"? AND..... are we going (following?) where God is leading?
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.