Sharing, singing, praising!
"Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 5:19--20)
Stopping, even for a few minutes, as Caregivers is very hard to do. Stopping to "share" and sing, even to "praise," can be even harder to do -- even if it is Sunday and we are thinking about worship. This is the 5th Sunday - which only happens a few times a year. We, who are in worship regularly, think of Sunday as a time of Sabbath rest especially when we don't always actually get to rest(!). Then to add in the idea of sharing and singing let alone praising........ I can understand the difficulty.
Paul is reminding the people, of Ephesus and all of us today, of how important what we say - and how we say it - is. This is important to remember as we talk to ourselves but also as we are talking with others. We may not share everything that is happening with ourselves, or our care receivers, but we can share in how we worship. We can thank, and praise, God! We can share how God IS with us -- Emmanuel, one of Jesus' names (from last week).
Think about your favorite hymn - can you sing it? Think about the hymns you are singing this Sunday morning with worship - can you sing any of them during the week? Can you share what your favorite hymn is? Why is it your favorite? How long has it been your favorite? Some things to think about!
Who do you....?
"He said to them 'but who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.'" (Matthew 15:15--16)
So many names! How many names do you have? I can tell when you met me by the name you call me. Family name, the name I used when there were too many Barbs and still use for my designs and needlework, my legal name from when it was important and, then, the name most people use now. Then there is also "Mom" and "Grandma"!! Of course there were, right up until the day he died, times my Dad could come out with my full name. You know you are in trouble when they get to the full name!!
Jesus had a lot of names also - Savior, Shepherd, Emmanuel...... Or how about Counselor, Prince of Peace, brother, friend..... There is also King of kings, and Lord of Lords. And these are just a few of them! Then Jesus asks "Who do YOU say I am?" (There's another one of God's names -- "I Am"!) You can begin to understand why the Disciples had answered, at first, with all the names they had heard others using. When given the question directly Peter is the one who answers "you are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God."
Can we, as Caregivers, answer the same way? What do WE call Jesus? Do we think of Him as a "nice guy" we 'visit' on Sundays? Do we think of Him as Lord of Lords and directing our lives? Do we think of Him as Shepherd, guarding and protecting? Do we think of Him as Emmanuel -- God WITH us? Something to think about...........
"But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart and this is what defiles." (Matthew 15:18)
What we say, the words we use, can be interesting to say the least. Some people only hear a part of what was said - so the wrong impression is given. Some of us, especially when we are tired, say what is upper most on our minds and we haven't stopped to "filter" it to at least be polite. Some of us have learned to not say anything because we've been told we are "wrong" so many times. And, most of us at least, remember the rhyme "sticks and stones may break our bones but words will never hurt us." Which is so wrong on so many levels because words DO hurt.
I want us, as Caregivers, to think about this for a minute though. What are our actions saying? We are taking care of our "person(s)" which is showing the love Jesus is calling for -- right? We are trying to be careful what we are saying, verbalizing, so the possibility of misunderstanding is at least reduced. We are trying to take care of ourselves so we don't get so tired what is upper most is what comes out. We are trying to show God's love -- right?
What do other people see as we are doing all this though? Sometimes we are the only Bible people ever see. Are they seeing God's Love through us to our recipient AND to the others watching? Do they see the joy, the laughter (of the crazy things that happen) and how our strength comes from God? In this world of social media other people are definitely watching so what are they seeing, and hearing, from us?
"He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus." (Matthew 14:29)
I live "up north," and have lived even further "up north," so there are definite times during the year when we can walk on water because all of the water is frozen. It is so frozen, in fact, that whole communities form out on the ice as people are ice fishing. People are even 'driving' on the ice. The rest of the year, however, is just like what the Disciples were encountering -- "just" a lake and fishing.
Jesus has sent the Disciples "ahead to the other side" (vs. 22) so Jesus can have some time "up the mountain by himself." (vs. 23) Jesus joins the Disciples "early in the morning, walking toward them on the sea." (vs. 25) In the middle of a storm, in the middle of a lake, in the middle of the night the Disciples were "terrified" - wouldn't any of us be? Jesus immediately calms them down and then tells Peter to 'come.' Peter gets out of the boat and is walking on the water (vs. 29). He is doing what Jesus asks him to do, heading toward Jesus, before we are told he "noticed the strong wind" (vs. 30) and starts to sink.
As Caregivers aren't we doing what Jesus has asked? Following where God is leading? And, in many ways, don't we feel like we are in the middle of a lake, in the middle of the storm? Are we beginning to "notice the wind"? We need to keep our focus on Jesus. We need to remember "Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him." (vs. 31 We need to remember Jesus was right beside Peter AND IS right beside us.
17 "They replied, 'We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.'" (Matthew 14:17)
Perspective can be very interesting! Each of us can see what is happening and have a different "perspective" of it. It can influence our response at the time and how we remember it. For instance my mother could always feed however many sat down to eat - no matter when the "extra" people arrived (some just as we were sitting down!). I'm sure from her 'perspective' it needed doing so she did it. From my 'perspective,' growing up, it seemed like a miracle requiring great skill.
The reading, above, is from the Gospel story of feeding the 5,000 men (please remember they didn't count the women and children so there were more than 5,000 there!) with a couple of fish and some bread. The Disciples have told Jesus the people needed to "go into the villages and buy food for themselves." (v. 15) Jesus reply is for the Disciples to "give them something to eat." (v. 16) Then, when the Disciples bring the couple of fish and few loaves of bread, Jesus" blesses the food and passes out the food. There is not only enough there is food left over - 12 baskets full!
As we rush around, trying to take care of our care receivers, ourselves and follow some kind of schedule do we also think "we have nothing here but ______"? What if we were to give _______ to Jesus and watch it grow? What if we were to give God what we "only have" and let God bless it?
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.