What’s Your Point of View?

My_point_of_view

Luke 13:10-17

Seeing the relationship that my children have with their grandparents makes me a bit jealous. I really never had the relationship with my grandparents that they are able to have today with our parents. My grandfathers had already died by the time I would have been old enough to remember them and my paternal grandmother was bed-ridden for as much as I can remember. My maternal grandmother had remarried long ago and while he was around I remember them being fairly healthy but I never built a strong relationship with them. My grandmother was hearing impaired and as she got older her sight started to go as well.

How I wish that I could have brought healing to my grandparents as Jesus did to the woman in our gospel story this morning. It is in Jesus’ healing that the woman’s point of view is changed, literally and figuratively. That is the amazing thing about Jesus! He is able to change our point of view through his words and actions. The woman finds herself for eighteen long years stooped over with a line of vision that is not able to look clearly all around her. Think about it. She probably spent most of her day looking more towards the ground then she did looking up to speak to those that approached her. Not to mention, because of her ailment, she would have been seen as unclean and would have been avoided if not pushed to the boundaries of the city. Her point of view is instantly changed, in just the simple words of Jesus and laying on of his hands, “Woman, you are set free of your ailment.” She is able to stand tall and experience things like she had never experienced them before. Let’s think beyond the physical though and think of that new relationship that she has now experienced in Jesus. She will never be the same as Jesus has come into her life and healed her.

Many of you as well as members and loved ones that cannot be with us to worship also pray for that same type of healing that Jesus brings to the woman in our gospel story. We are human and we fall into disrepair at times when our bodies cannot heal themselves. This is just part of being human on this side of the resurrection. Jesus’ healing can come to us in many different ways. It can be the physical healing that we hear of in today’s gospel story. It could be the healing that comes to us through the help of medical professionals, such as this woman that hears for the first time.

Jesus speaks of her being bound by Satan for those eighteen long years. Was this a physical binding, or is Jesus simply referring to the evil that takes places in our world. The evil that comes to us in the deterioration of our health, both physical and mental. The evil that comes to us when we are least expecting it and tries to prevent us from doing those things that we truly love to do. How do we come to terms with this evil that pervades our lives and tends to bring dark clouds our way?

Through our experiences in life, we know that physical healing does not always occur, even though we may pray feverishly for it. Perhaps, there is a healing that is beyond our grasp. A healing that enters into our very being that opens us up to God that is within us. Jesus brings healing to us in our times of need. An openness to that healing and welcoming it in to our very being is what God is hoping for. That healing can change our point of view when we allow ourselves to be truly vulnerable and open to the possibility.

Often times, it is in the vulnerability that we encounter a roadblock. We are taught that we should put up a strong front and only share those things that will help and not hinder our progress in any way. That vulnerability is personal, and it can also be communal as a group looks to any change and the way in which it is approached. A different point of view can be eye opening and can reform the church. Just look back nearly 500 years ago when Martin Luther set into motion the Reformation and what would eventually become the foundation of our denomination.Through Jesus there was healing that occurred at that time as people truly experienced God for the first time in a personal way.

We cannot be healed on our own. It requires us to be vulnerable and open to the help of others and the power of the Holy Spirit. In that healing we experience a new point of view. A point of view that can bring us back to the foot of the cross with thanksgiving for Jesus entering into our lives with a promise of life-everlasting through his death and resurrection.

Advertisements

A Treasure of Community

hand tree

Luke 12:32-40

My first memory of the Olympics goes back to 1984 when Los Angeles hosted the summer games. I really do not remember much about the Olympics themselves, however, I do remember the torch and how it was used to light the cauldron during the opening ceremonies. I felt connected to that torch because earlier I had seen it in person as it was carried past our house by someone running on a cold and dreary spring evening. I was sitting on the front porch, not really feeling the greatest, and I remember thinking that this was pretty awesome!

Friday night we had the opportunity to witness another opening ceremonies for the Olympics. Rio did a wonderful job of welcoming the world into their country for the next few weeks and shared their story and even the story of creation and how we as humans fail to take care of it. While Rio has had their own problems preparing for the games and there are still many in Brazil that don’t even have the most basic needs, they have moved forward and are celebrating together.

The Olympics bring a sense of community. It is community that we need so desperately at this time. A community that reflects Christ’s love and cheers each other on. These past few months have seemed like nothing but violence occurring throughout the world. Fear at times seems to run rampant and breaks apart our sense of community. It is the Olympics that brings the importance of community to the forefront and brings hope to a world so much in need. It is in our gospel lesson this morning that Jesus addresses any fears that his followers may have.

Many of you are probably familiar with our gospel lesson for today. Verse 34 is popular when it comes to stewardship drives and the request for money within the church. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” No, don’t worry I am not going to be talking about stewardship this morning, we’ll save that for a little later. I do want to talk about treasures. The treasures that we have as a congregation and what we choose to do with those treasures.

We can talk about the personal when it comes to our treasures. What is it that we value? What do we find hard to part with? This could connect with my message from last week as I shared my own struggles with the vow of poverty. This morning I would rather talk about the communal. How do we as a community of Christ carry out the good news? From the beginning of our gospel reading we can feel called into the greater community of Christ as Jesus welcomes us, as a little flock, and tells us not be afraid. The term little flock is endearing as we picture Jesus as the good shepherd caring for those in his flock and loving them. Jesus gathers all of his flock into one great community.

We at times are reluctant to join together in community as we lose focus and tend to turn inwards. We rush around doing those things on our to-do list and then forget about God’s call for us to be in relationship with one another. Even our society at times seems to be narcissistic and the gospel compels us to reign that in.  Jesus’ concerns for those whom he was speaking and his call for them to make sure they are ready are still words of advice that we should heed today. Are we as a church ready for when Jesus returns? Are we ready for those that walk through our doors and are visiting? Are we focused on community and not on ourselves?

Since being at Trinity, the one gift Trinity exudes that always comes to the top of any discussion is the sense of community. Having our worship here this morning and having a church picnic is a great way for us to share in community. Our community should also extend beyond those that we know and include all of God’s children. Jesus calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves and we do that through our various ministries and will be able to put our words into action as we host MCREST in October.

Our mission statement calls us to Celebrate God’s Word Together, and by worshiping as one community and serving with one another we are able to live out our mission. Are we always doing this? We’re human and we make mistakes and at times we may simply fall short of our mission and Jesus’ calling for us. However, we must not be afraid, as God is love and we ourselves are called into friendship with Jesus Christ. Are we reflecting this in our relationships with one another and for every visitor that comes through our church doors? We never know who may come through our doors and we should welcome them just as we would welcome Jesus.

As we share in the meal at the table this morning and share in conversation and a picnic, may we remember the greater community that Jesus calls us to. Jesus did not die on the cross for just us, but for all of creation. May we live into the community that reflects Christ’s love for us and celebrate the resurrection that promises us eternal life.

 

 

Halfway Through Marathon Training!

CevaWalk1

After today’s 14 mile long run, I am now halfway through my training for the Detroit Marathon. Woohoo!!!!!!!

I have been tested through this time as I wonder why I decided to run 26.2 miles. The truth is that I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it and wanted to do it before I turned 40. Training has been going great and so far I have only missed one run during my first 10 weeks. I have stayed for the most part injury free, except for bloody nipples (owww!!!!), and a couple of nasty looking toes that will probably kiss their nails goodbye.

I racked up 95 miles for July and will be on track to top 100 miles for the month of August. I have never put these types of miles in before, and I may be crazy, but it feels great! I never thought a 10 mile run would seem easy.

Now, you are probably wondering why the cute picture of the puppy. As I told you before I wanted a little extra motivation for the marathon and would be raising money for an organization. I chose Leader Dog for the Blind because of the connection I made with them nearly 20 years ago through the Lions Club and the proximity to where I am living now. We may possibly be getting a Leader Dog of our own to raise as well! We get to pick him up on August 19 and pictures will definitely be shared. We are so looking forward to giving back and helping raise a Future Leader Dog for a person that is sight impaired. I have set a lofty goal, and I know that through everyone’s help I can reach it. You can go to my Leader Dog Fund Raising page and all funds given will immediately get to them. Thanks for your generosity and keeping me in your prayers as I train and my family as we adjust to life with a new puppy.