March 30, 2017
Suppose there can only be one word when the skies are blue and the temperatures are warm - fever! As in Spring Fever!!!
What a privilege to be out and about, visiting and taking care of business on this beautiful day!!!
Seeing isn’t always believing. At least that was the case for the Pharisees. After several rounds of probing this now-seeing blind man, they still wouldn’t accept Jesus as a man from God. You can hear the frustration in the voice of the young man on trial, “I already told you, and you didn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it again?”
Have you ever felt unheard? As a young minister, I once expressed disagreement with a particular program at a youth camp my students were attending. Instead of respecting my opinion, the camp directors verbally abused me and threatened to send my students and me home early. While having been strongly supported in my ministry since then, I still carry the wounds these religious authorities inflicted.
When your voice seems unheard, it’s tempting to believe your voice is not worth hearing. In times like these, I hope you remember the young man in this passage. In the midst of insult and disbelief, he remained confident in his voice, ultimately becoming a teacher to his teachers.
I ran into a conflict buzz saw a few days ago. When a touchy subject came up, a friend weighed in with her disgust. When she finished, no one else said a word. But we were silent not because we all agreed or disagreed, but because we were overwhelmed. I remembered back to when I ran into my first conflict buzz saw. My grandma assured me that conflict was nothing to be afraid of, but instead a process in life that produces something new. Her example was making a cake. “Eggs and sugar and flour in a bowl together are not a cake,” she said. “They’ve got to have a little conflict and get knocked around until that they decide to work together and blend into batter.” Instead of conflict being a process that we go through to grow and move forward, it has become a sport where sides just shout out their opinions and hold on to them. No one wants to make a cake. Our children are watching these tantrums so I ask: How can we reverse direction on how we handle conflict? This message is an excerpt from an October 2009 Women of the ELCA blog by Valora K. Starr.
One of my seminary professors told my class we have two basic thirsts — to be known and to know what we are supposed to do. Most of our life’s questions boil down to these two questions: Who am I? What am I called to do? Only God can quench our thirst for answers to these questions. If we seek the answers from our friends, family, magazines, TV, or social media, we will never feel satisfied and will need to seek for answers again. Only when we ask Jesus to give us our Identity (Who am I?) and Mission (What am I called to do?) do we feel that our thirst for answers has been quenched. By turning to Jesus we discover, individually and collectively, that we are God’s beloved now and into eternity. We discover our purpose is to join in God’s mission of reconciling all people to God and one another. This identity and purpose never changes and will allow us to love others with the same mercy and forgiveness with which we are loved.Hmmm....
While it isn't an official holiday in the United States, it is in some 27 other countries. International Women's Day was instituted in 1977 by the United Nations as a way to encourage and empower women across [the] globe. It is a day, also, dedicated to celebrating women's achievements throughout history and across nations. Each year there is a theme associated with the day. This year it is “Women in the Changing World of Work.”
O God of all comfort and grace, be especially near to those who are suffering from illness and pain. May their souls and bodies be flooded with the light that penetrates our deepest darkness. Send your healing presence this day. Amen.
Praise the Lord! How good it is to sing praises to our God.
Psalm 147:1Paul wrote: Speak to one another with the words of psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing hymns and psalms to the Lord with praise in your hearts. Ephesians 5:19 (GNT)
O God from whom all blessings flow, when the echoes of songs and praises from Sunday grow dim, revive them in our hearts and minds. May the songs of grace accompany us to our classrooms, offices and homes this day. Amen.