"I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me," (John 10:14)
We've talked about following but how are you at leading? It can be leading just about anything -- a choir? A Bible study? Getting people from point A to point B? I love my mother but directing, leading, a choir was not what she could do. She did try though. We had a choir at one of the churches Dad was serving. Children from about 1st grade through my age - about 7th grade at the time - were in it. We did great, at home with "our" pianist, but then we were invited to join with other choirs. We were used to Mom "waving" her arms and "just" following the piano. The new pianist, for the whole group, thought she should be following Mom. Those of you who know more about music know how difficult that would be.
The Gospel reading, today, is about Jesus as our Shepherd. He has just healed a man "blind from birth." (John 9:1) which has let to some....... interesting(?) discussions. Questions from the Disciples, discussions between the man and others, his parents and others, and, yes, the Pharisees (leaders of the synagogue) and the final question, from the Pharisees listening of "We are not blind are we?" To which Jesus answers with the references to sheep, shepherds and knowing. Jesus knows his sheep, followers, and we know our Shepherd - right? Jesus is using the image of Shepherd, and sheep, because it was practical to that day and time. People knew shepherds and probably had sheep. The people knew, and could "see," what Jesus was saying. What example would work for you? Do you see Jesus as the good Shepherd? Do you know his voice?
As Caregivers we are already following various instructions for "our" people. We are already listening to a lot of different voices. My questions, however, are about listening for God's voice? Are we following our Shepherd? Can we share how our Shepherd IS with us, guiding us and giving us strength? Are we following where our Shepherd is leading?
"He will not fear evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord." (Psalm 112:7)
I don't sit still very well. Those of ya'll who know me know that. I am frequently asked one of two questions. If the person hasn't seen me, or doesn't really know me well, they will ask "you're the one who knits at meetings -- aren't you?" The other question, by the people who know me better, is "You did bring your knitting -- right?" Depending on how long the meeting is supposed to be there can even be extra emphasis on the "did bring".
This reading, in Psalms, is from one of my daily God times this week. The subtitle for this Psalm, in my Bible, is "The Blessings of Those Who Fear God." (Psalm 112 NASB) My thought is those of us who work at maintaining, and strengthening, our relationship with God are "trusting in the Lord." (v. 7) The thing is to be able to have a "heart" that is "steadfast" we must s-t-o-p and spend time with God. Psalm 46:10, in my Bible (NASB), says "Cease striving." (Psalm 46:10) The Message gives an even better idea of what God is asking us to do: "Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything." (Psalm 46:10 The Message)
No I don't sit still very well. Yes, it IS difficult to stop, to "step out of traffic," to take the time to "just" be with God. YES! We need to take the time so our hearts are "steadfast" and we are "trusting." (v. 7) Yes, especially as Caregivers, this is hard to do but it is both needed and worth it. Yes, I firmly believe God understands one of the ways I can "cease striving," and really listen for what God is saying to me, is with my needlework in my hands so my fingers are busy. How do you "step out of traffic!"? Are you strengthening your relationship with God?
"Jesus said to him, "have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet come to believe."" (John 20:29)
It is hard to believe but we started this believe series over 6 weeks ago. As we finish the series it is time for the "other" season we have around here -- road construction -- to start. So I am wondering which road signs do you question? Prayerfully you believe the speed limit signs -- although I know many people only think they are a suggestion. We believe the Highway signs that tell us which Highway we are on or crossing. What about, though, a "BUMP" sign? Do we believe it or question it?
Today's Gospel reading is in John approximately a week after Jesus resurrection. (v. 26) Jesus is, once again, appearing to His Disciples. "Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them." (v. 26b) The difference, this time, is everyone is there -- even Thomas. Before we wonder about Thomas, and doubts, lets remember none of the Disciples believed the women.... at first. They all had doubts. They all had questions. Jesus greets them with "Peace be with you." (v. 26c) Jesus knows their doubts and fears. Jesus knows our doubts and fears. Jesus says now, like He did then, "Peace be with you." (v. 26c)
Personally I think the bumps "they" don't warn us about are worse than the ones with the "Bump Ahead" signs. The changes, the bumps, we have all been feeling are challenging and scary -- even the ones that have NOTHING to do with quarantines, shots, masks or anything else with the Pandemic. As Caregivers we have enough changes and challenges happening. Jesus IS still saying "Peace be with you." Do we believe it? Or are we doubting and questioning it?
"But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him."" (Mark 16:6 emphasis mine)
We have been looking at, and I pray thinking about, what we believe. Do we really believe it? This last year has been an especially difficult year for many (if not all) of us. How many times have we prepared for something - gotten everything done, been ready to go - when it was cancelled, postponed or in some other way changed? I don't know about you but my tendency is to end up with a "say what" expression and wonder what to do with all the prep work I have finished. I can understand the women "fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them." (v. 7)
Our Gospel reading, this morning, is Mark's account of the resurrection. The women are prepared to "anoint him" (Jesus) with "spices." (v. 1) The are prepared to take care of their loved one and are wondering "who will roll away the stone." (v. 3) Instead when they get there "the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled away." (v. 4) What would your reaction be? In the Gospel of John, chapter 20, Mary Magdalene, goes for help (v. 2), asks questions (v. 13 & 15) and stays in the garden - she is the first one to see Jesus alive (v. 14). In Mark's Gospel the women are "amazed" and in "terror" as they "fled." (v. 7)
We know the rest of the story. We know Jesus DID rise from the grave and was seen by the Disciples and others. We know Jesus ascended into heaven. We know Jesus IS with us -- Emmanuel. But..... do we REALLY believe it? Or is it something we celebrate once a year, maybe even talk about - at least that once a year - but don't really even think about? IF we really believe it can we be excited about the celebration? He IS Risen!!! He is risen, INDEED!!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.