Sunday, April 19, 2015

Being Part of the Miracle

"Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?  John 6:5

 John 6:1-15
Jesus didn't need Philip to tell him how they were going to feed the large crowd that had followed them.  He already knew what he was going to do. He knew the disciples were skeptical.  Rather than just taking care of the situation and performing his miracle, however, Jesus involved his disciples.  Philip saw the need; Andrew gathered the meager loaves and fishes from the boy; and the disciples told the people to sit down, and passed the loaves and gathered the leftovers.  The disciples were an important part of Jesus' miracle from start to finish.  He wanted the twelve to become familiar with the idea of performing miracles themselves.

The disciples gained confidence that day.  They learned to look at needs with eyes of compassion.  They learned to give Jesus their meager offerings, trusting him.  They learned to give thanks to God.  They learned to rely on the power of God, and to go forward to build the kingdom with confidence.

What can we learn from this story?  Do we realize that we are Jesus' disciples today, and that he wants to do the same thing for us?  Are we willing to become vessels of his grace in the world?

There are needy people all around us.  God is asking us to pay attention.  He is inviting us to join him in doing something about it.  If we listen for his direction and are willing to reach out in faith, we will see wonders.  We will be part of the miracle.

Be blessed,

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Why Are You Amazed?

"Why are you amazed at this?"  Acts 3:12

The man who had been crippled from birth clings to Peter and John.  Those who saw Peter heal the man exclaim it to the gathering crowd.  Whispers.  Shouts.  People straining to see for themselves.  It's true, it's amazing!  He walks!

"Why are you amazed?" Peter asks.  All their lives these people have been proclaiming that God is a healer and deliverer.   So why, indeed, are they amazed to actually see God heal someone through the prayers of a group of believers?  Through someone like themselves?

As I think about this reading, I find that I am not so different.  There is often a gap between what I proclaim and what I actually count on in my life.  Sure, I pray for friends and family members.  I fervently ask for healing and restoration.  I know about God's healing power, his transforming love.  I think I am praying in faith.  Yet, when God sometimes intercedes and brings about a remarkable healing, I am surprised. Why, indeed, should I be amazed?   Isn't this what I asked for?

In his infinite wisdom and grace, God gives us so much more than we ask much more than we even know to ask for.  God's healing goes much deeper than the physical.   He wants to restore us on a spiritual level.   He wants to unite us to himself and to each other.  There are many blessings beyond physical healing that God wants to give us.

So, how should we pray?   
  • We start, as Jesus did, with the people right in front of us.  Right here and now.  We pray for their needs, both physical and spiritual.  
  • We continue praying for them daily, until we see results.  We picture ourselves bringing these people to Jesus.  We are not merely making a wish; we are praying!  Through our faith we intercede.  But that is not all there is to it.   God hears our every prayer.   He responds.
  • We thank Jesus, even before we see anything happening.  We thank him for his work in their lives, and in ours.   
  • We say Amen!  Because we believe.   We trust in his power to act.
Help us, Lord, to open ourselves fully to your healing power.  Make us intercessors for those who need your healing, physically and spiritually.  Amaze us, Lord, with the grace of your love. 

Be blessed,

Tangles used in this Zentangle tile are Meringue, Mooka, and Tipple.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Rejoice! He Is Risen!

Today is Easter Sunday.  A day all about faith and family.
Today we wake up to candy and chocolate bunnies, hidden baskets laden with gifts.
Today we feast on roasted ham and scalloped potatoes and special traditional foods.
Today we dress up in our finest outfits to wear to church.
Today the choir sings with renewed vigor, and the entire congregation sings along, hardly able to contain our joy.
Today we hear the great news of Jesus' resurrection.

But not every Sunday is like Easter, is it?  It isn't every Sunday that we dress up for church.  If we are honest with ourselves, it isn't every Sunday that we may even want to go to church.  The message is not always the wonderful news of Jesus' resurrection.  Sometimes we hear the difficult things, the things that cause us to swallow the lump of conviction.  Sometimes we can't let go of our bitterness and fears long enough to hear God's voice.  Sometimes we just go through the motions, distracted by the din of our own busy-ness and pursuits. 

But it is every Sunday, in fact every moment of every day, that God loves us.  Every day he calls us to himself through our faith in his Son.  God has offered us the gift of forgiveness and eternal life.  Jesus secured this promise for us when he died on the cross and rose from the dead.  Because there was a resurrection, because there is Easter Sunday, we have hope.  Every day.  We have life.  We have His promise.  

Today we renew our baptismal vows.  We have a fresh start.  A chance to commit, again, to living the life of faith, the life of fullness in his love.   In light of the joy of the resurrection, we can proclaim, "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad, for Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.  Let us live our lives in that joy."

Be blessed,