"David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned for forty years."
We've talked about it before but I'm asking again -- when do you "believe" something? There is so much information coming from so many places - what, and when, do you believe something? When you hear it? When you see it? What if you don't see it? What if you have visual difficulties? I've worked with the visually impaired and, trust me, they can do anything we can except - maybe - drive a car. 60 Minutes had a report, last Sunday, on the designs a blind architect is doing in and with accessible buildings. His designs are pretty awesome!
Our readings are about what and how people see - what is happening and how, or what, the response is. The Gospel reading is Jesus not being welcomed (Luke 9:53), James and John's response (v. 54) and what Jesus has them do - move on to "another town." (v. 56) In Galatians we are told to "follow the Spirit's leading" in "every part of our lives." (5:25) Then we come to the OT reading telling us about how long David ruled - 40 years. Samuel anointed David when David was a boy. Samuel was a boy when he started his ministry. Samuel had to learn, and transition, as he went along. God even tells Samuel "the Lord doesn't see things the way you see them." (1 Samuel 16:7) I saw a post on Facebook -- "David's brothers saw a shepherd. God saw a King. Goliath saw a dog. God saw a warrior. Let God define you not others." Samuel also saw a boy but did what God asked when he anointed the boy.
So...as we are following where God is leading... what are you seeing? What are you believing? Are you following where God is leading? Something to think about.........
Pain, Prayer, Promise, Praise
"She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly." (1 Samuel 1:10)
Have you ever been so excited about something you at least said out loud, if not shouted, "Praise God"? Have you ever been so frustrated by what is happening, not coming together - at least not the way you wanted it to work, you actually stopped to pray? Have you ever been in so much pain - physical, mental or emotional - you were curled up crying out to God? Romans 8:26 tells us "in the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but he spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans."
Our readings, today, are about prayer for what God is doing or will do. Mary is thankful, and praising God for the promise of God with her. She is rejoicing, praising God, and KNOWS God is fulfilling God's promise through her. She is right - "All generations will call her blessed" even as we know the rest of the story. In Galatians we are reminded of our faith. Hannah's faith has her at the Temple literally crying out to God. She promises God she will "set him before you" if God will give her a male child. (v. 11) God answers Hannah's prayer and Hanna keeps her promise. Samuel, the answer to Hannah's prayer grows up in the Temple, in close relationship with God. Praise, from Mary, and pain from Hannah -- both in prayer and both praising God for hearing and answering their prayer.
How are we doing at "going to God in prayer"? The answer isn't always what WE want -- Mary went through a LOT as God fulfilled the promise of the Messiah and Hannah DID give Samuel to God letting him grow up in the Temple. At the same time both were praising God for hearing and helping. As Caregivers do we praise God for hearing and helping as we go through the pain and difficulties? Through all the things happening around us are we stopping to pray? Something to think about........
"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now."
Ready? Do you hear me? I've been having some trouble with laryngitis so actually hearing me could be a problem. I would also ask, however, are you paying attention? As in are you really listening? How often do we come, we have fellowship - see friends, worship - sing hymns but when things get quiet our mind is somewhere else? The activities for later? Think of the to do list? The grocery list? Think of it like a three legged stool - one leg is presence, one leg is worship and fellowship, but the third leg is listening or paying full attention.
Jesus has been talking to the Disciples, and us, about what is about to happen. It has been a long day, a lot happening, good food and fellowship but Jesus is explaining, telling what is going to happen. This time Jesus is telling them they aren't quite ready to hear all of it. The Comforter, The Advocate, will guide them and help them through everything that will be coming and happening. The Holy Spirit, that we celebrated last Sunday IS here. Today we celebrate Trinity Sunday - God, Jesus and Holy Spirit - Three in One, One in Three. If you try to figure it out it can drive you crazy. If you listen AND pay attention Jesus is telling us we have a Guide, a Comforter who will Advocate for us. God with us - Emmanuel.
A little different way of thinking about "three in one" is the idea of the stool - presence, worship AND paying attention. Are we doing all three? Or as Caregivers are we "there" but our mind is somewhere else? Something to think about........
"All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them the ability." (Acts 2:4)
Have you thought about how many languages you speak? How many you actually use? Are there some you want to learn - or maybe remember better? I can speak American pretty fluently, English some and a very small amount of Spanish. I speak even less of the Tex/Mex version of Spanish. (My Spanish teacher, back in the dark ages of school, taught Spain Spanish - kind of like the "King's English.") I can also speak needlework, reading (some), gardening (a little) and some cooking. While you are thinking of all the languages think of all the ways you use the languages.
This reading, in Acts, and the Gospel reading - John 14 - is about the fulfillment of God's promise through Jesus Christ. Jesus is telling the Disciples, and us, how God will send an Advocate. The Disciples have followed directions, they are waiting in Jerusalem, for this Advocate, Counselor, Helper Jesus has promised. Now what sounds like a "violent wind" has filled "the whole house." (v. 2) It is so loud people outside hear it (v. 6) and come to investigate. Please notice the Disciples are speaking so "each of us hears in our native language." (v. 8) The Disciples are speaking languages, so people will understand what they are saying, "as the Spirit gave them ability." (v. 4) Using the gifts God has given to share the Love God is giving.
So....... what languages do you speak? How could you use the languages you do speak to share what God is asking you to share? As Caregivers one language we speak is "loving care" - can we help others to understand God's loving care? Something to think about........
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.