God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Monday, March 31, 2014

Opening Eyes:

The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 39

They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, ‘Can you see anything?’ And the man looked up and said, ‘I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.’ Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Then he sent him away to his home, saying, ‘Do not even go into the village.’   Mark 8:22-26
       Today's section of Mark's Gospel invites us to join Jesus "on the way."  Jesus has turned his face towards Jerusalem and is from this point on heading steadily toward Jerusalem and the cross. This journey "on the way" is framed by the theme of having eyes to see, of having blind eyes opened. Jesus shares his Messianic identity for the first time with the twelve, but they do not see. Jesus tried to open their eyes but they remained closed and misunderstand what he is saying and doing. Mark does not want us to be left believing that Jesus ministry fails. For there are people who do have their eyes open and are able to see.  
      Today's healing story occurs after Jesus has been asked for a sign and has been traveling with the disciples who don;t understand about the bread. They see only one loaf of bread and believe there is not enough to eat. So when Jesus arrives in Bethsaida, a blind man begs him to touch him. Jesus leads him out of the village and then uses spit and laying on of hands to heal him. When asked if he can see, the blind man says I see men, but they look like trees walking. He sees but not clearly. So Jesus lays hands on him again and he now is able to see clearly.
       Sometime we are like the blind man and the disciples; we can see but we don't quite see everything. We see but we don't understand. We have asked God to help us and we get a glimpse but everything is still a little fuzzy. But the thing about God, is God comes back again. God is a God of second chances and will makes things clearly, little by little. God will always come back to open our eyes to help us see the world with the eyes of Jesus' heart.    

Prayer Practice:
Open the eyes of my heart lord
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see you
I want to see you

Sunday, March 30, 2014

They Just Don't Get It

 The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 38

     The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, asking him for a sign from heaven, to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, ‘Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.’ And he left them, and getting into the boat again, he went across to the other side.                                                 Now the disciples had forgotten to bring any bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, ‘Watch out—beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.’ They said to one another, ‘It is because we have no bread.’ And becoming aware of it, Jesus said to them, ‘Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?’ They said to him, ‘Twelve.’ ‘And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?’ And they said to him, ‘Seven.’ Then he said to them, ‘Do you not yet understand?’                Mark 8:11-21
       Jesus has just fed first the five thousand and now the four thousand, with a few loaves and a couple of fish. So Jesus has just fed these large groups of people and up walks the religious leaders and ask for a sign from Heaven. Seriously, fed people in the desert and they want a sign to test him. Jesus sighed deeply in his spirit, for they couldn't see what was right before them. He was not going to be a dog and pony show and do something on command. So he left the faithless generation and got into a boat.
       Just those word's, getting into the boat, we know that it is not going to go well, there is going to be trouble with the twelve. During their first boat journey, the disciples are worried about a storm and ask Jesus why he doesn't care. He says to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?" (Mark 4:35-41). The next time they get in a boat and another wind comes up, Jesus comes to help and they are afraid. Jesus says, "Take heart, it is I. Do not fear." (Mark 6:45-52). So here we are in the boat again and the disciples are worried about having enough bread since there is only one loaf. Seriously, Jesus has just fed 4000 people with seven loaves, there is only twelve of them and he has one loaf. So Jesus tells them to beware of the leaven of the religious and political leaders who are seeking a sign. He says that and the twelve start talking about the bread again. Jesus is fed up. He asks them, "Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you no perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember?" (Mark 8:17-19). He then asks them about how many loaves they collected, five, seven. "Do you not understand?" These disciples, those who know and are given special teachings, yet they are the ones who see and do not perceive. They are the ones who hear and do not understand! These people who have received Jesus' invitation to follow, these who should have faith are filled with fear. 
       Sometimes we are like these very flawed and human followers of Jesus. Our hearts are sometimes hard. Our soil is sometimes rocky. Our eyes don't always see the way God is at work in our lives and the world. Our ears don't always hear or listen to God's word. We often live in fear, not trusting God, not believing the Good News. But with God, there is always another chance. We are always given a new word of hope and promise. Jesus always has more seeds to sow in our rocky ground hearts. Jesus has more seeds to sow that will open our eyes to see and our ears to hear.  

 Prayer Practice:
May God send the Holy Spirit to blow through our rocky ground with seeds that will open our hardened hearts. May God turn our fearful hearts into faithful hearts. May Jesus open our eyes to see. May God open our ears that we may understand. Jesus carefully watch over our seeds. Amen.
If Everyone Cared by Nickelback

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Compassion

The Call to Discipleship in The Gospel of Mark, Day 37

DFID- UK Department  Flickr
In those days when there was again a great crowd without anything to eat, he called his disciples and said to them, ‘I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way—and some of them have come from a great distance.’ His disciples replied, ‘How can one feed these people with bread here in the desert?’ He asked them, ‘How many loaves do you have?’ They said, ‘Seven.’ Then he ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground; and he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute; and they distributed them to the crowd. They had also a few small fish; and after blessing them, he ordered that these too should be distributed. They ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. Now there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.  Mark 8:1-10
       There was a knock on my outside office door. A door that no-one uses, I thinks its an emergency exit for the pastor, in case a quick exit is needed. So there is this knock. I open the door and in comes a father with a eight year old. It is pantry day, but people don't usually come to my door. But here is this father asking for a gallon of milk and her favorite cereal. I am always torn about what to do in those moments which is why I usually only have at most a 20 in my wallet. So I know too much about this man, if he was a complete stranger I would have just given him my 20 for Jesus says give to the poor if they ask, but I know too much about his family. I know him and his wife play the system. They work every angle they can to not work. Granted that even if they did work they would still only be able to get a low wage job. So I listen to their story. If I give him my 20 he will be back next month. But Jesus says give and I give. 
       Jesus has gathered a great crowd around him in the gentile territories. For three days these crowds have sought healing and listened to Jesus teach. As Jesus looked at the gathered crowd, he is full of compassion for them. He  wants to feed them before sending them home. The disciples, who have just experienced the feeding of 5000 Israelites, ask how we can feed them bread here in the desert. Jesus asks how many loaves they have and they say seven. Jesus had the crowd sit, he took the bread, gave thank for it, and gave it to the people. Communion in the desert, followed by fish. The crowd ate and were satisfied. Jesus was then able to send them off as he moved on.
       The community of God is invited into this practice of having compassion on those who are hungry whether part of our local community or people outside our area. We are to look on those who are hungry with compassion and share a meal with them. Part of our mission as faithful followers of Jesus is to provide bread. We are to look on the hungry, on those who have joined us for teaching and healing and eat together. In what ways do you feed people? When do you eat with those who are hungry? When do you share a meal with those you have compassion on? As a church how are we supporting ministries of compassion for the hungry.

Prayer Practice:
Ask God to bring to you this day people for whom you can show compassion, can look on with Jesus' eyes and feed them.
Touch the Earth Lightly

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Be Opened

The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark a prayer journey, Day 36

Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’                                                                                                       Mark 7:31-37
       One of the aspects of discipleship is being able to hear God's word and being able to speak about what Jesus has done and what God will be doing. So on the surface this is a story of healing. Some people seek the healing of their friend by bringing him to Jesus. At this level Jesus comes to us in those places where we are closed off from the world where we can't hear or unable to express ourselves clearly. Jesus comes to those blocked off places and wrestles them open. For sometimes these places are the hardest to release. As the healing story illustrates, Jesus sometimes has to poke about a bit, help us by digging into those places to release what is holding us back. This can be a gritty dirty process, for Jesus has to use spit and touch the wounded part. And when he heals in this case he groans in his spirit and touches the wounded part. And when he groans he sighs up to heaven and says, "Be Opened." While we may not experience the physical healing, when we use these word be opened as a breath prayer, we can begin to groan to God to open up our closed off. shut down parts of ourselves.
       At another level the words of this story and the message of the story are directed to the reader. We are invited to be open to hearing the rest of the story, to have ears open so we can hear and understand. For the story as it continues in Mark becomes more and more difficult to hear and understand. The disciples become increasingly unable to understand. They don't understand his teachings, his miracle and why he is heading steadily toward his arrest and execution. The twelve are no where to be found at the end; they have deserted and denied Jesus. So you are invited to be open - to hear and understand. Mark's Gospel invites us share the story. For in this healing story, Jesus allows the man to speak clearly about what he has heard. And although Jesus tells those with the man not to spread the news - the news - the word - cannot be contained and spreads.  And at the end of the story when there is no one left to tell the news, will you be open to the invitation to share the word. So here before we know the rest of the story, we are invited to have our tongues released and speak plainly. Will you be open to sharing God's good news?  

Prayer Practice:
As you settle into a time with God, begin by asking God to bring into your awareness those places where you are unable to hear, where you are closed off. Then hear Jesus speak to those places - Be Opened. Amen.
Invocation by Christopher Grundy

Monday, March 24, 2014

Feed the Dogs

The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 35

From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, ‘Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ But she answered him, ‘Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’ Then he said to her, ‘For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.’ So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.  Mark 7:24-30
What happens when Jesus has a bad day? Well he turns very human and insults people and wants to be alone. Jesus has been sowing the word throughout the gentile territories. Crowds have gathered where he has healed the sick and cast out evil. The religious authorities are challenging him about how he practices the faith and what it means to follow God. He wants to get away and regroup. He attempts to take a break and enters a house and didn't want anyone to know. But someone found him.  A woman whose daughter is possessed by evil, seeks him out. This woman an outsider among these outsiders,falls to his feet and begs him to heal her daughter. She caught him at the wrong moment. He doesn't feel like being kind and helpful. He doesn't feel like bringing one more group of people into the fold. He calls her a b**** and says his mission is to feed God's children. So not only did he call her a name, but then tells her that she is not part of God's kingdom. There is no way to make what Jesus says nice. He was rude and told her she didn't belong in this new family he was establishing. I wonder what you would have done at that point. Would you have called him names back. Would you have fled at the confrontation? Or would you, from your place on the floor, teach the Holy One of God something? She doesn't let Jesus define her out of the kingdom. She says back to him that even the dogs under the table get scraps, all I want is a scrap. Even if I'm a b***** I don't deserve a place at the table. Jesus hears her. She changes his mind about who is part of the kingdom and his ministry. He learns from her about the boundless possibilities for the spreading kingdom. Jesus changes his mind, he tells her she may go for her daughter is free of evil.

Prayer Practice:  
Who is it you have left out of God's kingdom? Is it the mother who brings her autistic child to worship and disrupts the experience? Is it the gay couple who were quickly shown the way back out of the building? Is it the young adult covered with tats and piercings? Is it the slightly smelly down on their luck family? Is it those people - black Hispanic, Puerto Rican, German, Irish... who ever the other is in your place? As you think about God's kingdom, who have you left out? Ask God to place you in the path of someone who will teach you about God's extravagant love. Amen.




Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Heart for God

  

The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark a prayer journey, Day 34

Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?’ He said to them, ‘Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,
“This people honours me with their lips,
   but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
   teaching human precepts as doctrines.”
You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.’
   Then he said to them, ‘You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! For Moses said, “Honour your father and your mother”; and, “Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.” But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, “Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban” (that is, an offering to God)— then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.’
   Then he called the crowd again and said to them, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.’
   When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. He said to them, ‘Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?’ (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, ‘It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.’                                                                   Mark 7:1-23
       What makes your heart acceptable to God?  What is it that causes you to be separated from God?  
       In this section of Mark, Jesus is again confronted by religious authorities, including a contingent form the center of power in Jerusalem. They have come to question Jesus about how you practice religion, what rules should be followed. So the outward argument is about washing hands before eating. And just for the record, I am all for clean hands before eating in order to prevent the spread of disease. But they aren't really arguing about handwashing. They are arguing about how do you follow God and faithfully practice your faith. The religious leaders are arguing for following the oral tradition, what has been passed down from generation to generation as the way to be faithful. While Jesus is quoting the scripture, the written tradition, Jesus is pushing this argument even further, he wants us to consider where our hearts are. While talking about purity being about outer rules, Jesus wants us to think about purity being a matter of the state of our hearts. If inside your heart is evil, you will produce evil. If your heart is pure, you will produce good. So this discussion ends with Jesus talking about what produces hardened hearts or a heart for God. Jesus says that what comes out of us is what shows our goodness. If in our lives we have evil thoughts, fornicate, theft, murder, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness - these are the things that separate us from each other and from God. When this evil comes forth from our hearts; it keeps us from experiencing a connection to God. Jesus invites us to heal these wounded hearts. But he is also arguing against the rules that keep people out of our community for not following a certain practices. Those boundaries, like hand washing, keep people set apart with some viewed as undesirable, wicked, thugs, different. These barriers keep us from connecting with each other and with God. Jesus is coming to break down these separations and draw us into relationship with each other and with God. We are invited to turn back to God, repent. We are invited to let go of the traditions that hurt our hearts and the hearts of others. We are invited to draw people into a new way of living that is open to the movement of God in our lives that allows us to look at other differently and to help people change their lives around the big follies - fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. Repent and believe the Good News, God has come to change your heart.

Prayer practice:
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
 
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.
 
I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.
 
I arise today, through
God's strength to pilot me,
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.
 
I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
St. Patrick's Breastplate (7th or 8th century).
St. Patrick's Breastplate



Friday, March 21, 2014

The Kingdom Grows

The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 33

Leonski Oh Leonski Jesus crown of Thorns West Pier Brighton

When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the market-places, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.                                                                      Mark 6:53-56
       With the hardened hearts of the disciples from Mark 6:43-52, Mark wants us to know that there are people who do receive Jesus and his ministry, who hear the word and spread it. This summary paragraph of ministry is to let us not loose heart, the word will spread and the kingdom will continue to dawn. The first summary reminds us of the story in Mark 2:1-11 of the friends who bring the paralytic on a pallet to Jesus to be healed. The community is there to bring us to God when are not able to bring ourselves. Jesus tells this man his sins are forgiven and invited him to stand and walk. Jesus is the one who comes to forgive sins and heal the broken parts of us.  
       Then we are reminded of Mark 5:24-34, where a woman has so much faith that she believes she will be healed if she just touched his cloak. So more people are coming and believe that just to touch him, will make them well. As with this women we are reminded that the last will be first in the new family of God. The faith is spreading even here in the Gentile territories, God kingdom has come to the outsiders who are not part of God's dawning kingdom. God's word of forgiveness and healing will not be stopped by ethnic boundaries.  

Prayer Practice:  
I invite you to pray with the scripture and ask God where you should go - a coffee shop, a park, a train station - any place where people will be sitting and talking. Sit quietly and listen to the people around you and pray for them. Pray for them as the Spirit moves you. Amen.

If I Needed You by Emmylou Harris

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hardened Hearts

 The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 32

     Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray.
       When evening came, the boat was out on the lake, and he was alone on the land. When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the lake. He intended to pass them by. But when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’ Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.                                                                 Mark 6:45-52
What do we make of Jesus? Are we able to hear the word? Are we insiders who don't understand? Are our hearts hardened to the word? This second boat story of the disciples is not an easy passage. We want the disciples to be enthusiastic followers of Jesus who have the inside teaching that brings them closer to knowing God. But these very real, human men, don't get it. Jesus sends the disciples off to the other side while he prays. Jesus spends the night, until almost dawn in prayer. As he sets out across the lake to meet the disciples, he sees them struggling with the wind on the sea. He senses their distress. So instead of passing on by as he intended. Jesus calls to the disciples, to comfort them in their fear. He says, "Take heart, it is I, do not be afraid." Jesus is trying to remind the disciples, who he is - he has just stilled a storm. Even his phrasing, "it is I" is meant to recall God's name, I am. As he climbs into the boat, we readers hope they will catch on and put their fears behind them. But Mark tells us they were astounded, they didn't understand about the loaves and their hearts were hardened. They don't get it. They have eyes but do not see and ears but do not hear. The disciples who have been given the secrets of the kingdom, do not understand.
       After hearing this, one of our responses can be, what about us. We weren't actually alive in the gospel time, will we be able to have faith? Will we be able to let go of our fear and believe? Will we be able to open our hearts? God wants us to open our hearts and will keep inviting you to experiencing the dawning kingdom. God is patient and will wait for you to accept his mercy and open your heart. And God will continue to push you, challenge you to hear and understand the word.  

Prayer Practice:
As you find your space to pray. Take a moment to breathe deeply and fully, letting your breath fill up and empty out. Invite Jesus to share with you those places where you don't get it, where your heart is hard. When those places have come into your consciousness hear Jesus speak to them -  Take Heart, It is I, Have No Fear. Amen.
Jesus Walking on the Water by the Violent Femmes


       

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Compassion

The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark,  Day 31

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.’ But he answered them, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They said to him, ‘Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?’ And he said to them, ‘How many loaves have you? Go and see.’ When they had found out, they said, ‘Five, and two fish.’ Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.                                             Mark 6:30-44
        Is one of the most important traits of discipleship compassion? The apostles (the first and only time this designation is given to the 12 in Mark), have returned from their missionary trip. Jesus invites them to come away and rest. They set off in a boat for a quiet place, but the crowds see where they are headed and follow on foot. As Jesus comes ashore and sees the crowds he feels compassion for them. The disciple get worried about the people and want to send them back to the villages to eat and they tell Jesus to send them away. Jesus says to them, you feed them, give them something to eat. The disciples counter this with a complaint - what are we to spend a fortune on food for these people. Jesus then invites them to look at their resources, at what bread they have available. They found 5 loaves and 2 fishes. Jesus takes, blesses, and breaks the loaves and fishes. Everyone then eats until they are satisfied. They collect 12 baskets of bread and fish. So we are reminded that God feed the Israelites in the desert with manna from Heaven. Jesus too is able to feed people in the wilderness.
        Jesus demonstrates compassion to the disciples, when they are interested in sending people away, he pushes them to feed them even if it cost money. So part of our discipleship journey is too learn to have compassion, to take Jesus' command - you give them something to eat. So part of our journey is to feed people. How are we helping to give people something to eat. Do we have meal programs to provide a hot meal? Do we support a food pantry? Do we give school kids a backpack of food for the weekend? Do we have a summer feeding program for kids? Are you challenging government officials who cut food stamps and school lunch programs? Are you helping to make sure no one in this country or this world goes hungry? Do you challenge politicians who call starving children takers not makers?  

Prayer Practice:
Use the words - "You give them something to eat" as your breath prayer today. Breathing in and out let these words settle in your heart. Ask God to share with you how you can show compassion. As you go to the super market this week, say the prayer you give them something to eat, and fill a basket with food to place in the pantry barrel. Amen.

Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ

Monday, March 17, 2014

Thorny Ground

The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 30

These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing.  Mark 4:15-19
How do we deal with the story of John the Baptist in the Gospel of Mark. On the surface it is weird to be reading along and then all of sudden have a flashback to the cause and death of John the Baptist. Mark tells this story in Mark 6:14-29.
      King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, ‘John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.’ But others said, ‘It is Elijah.’ And others said, ‘It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.’ But when Herod heard of it, he said, ‘John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.’
        For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’ And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.’ And he solemnly swore to her, ‘Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘What should I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the baptizer.’ Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, ‘I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.’ The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb. 
       Partly this story is told in order to foreshadow the trial and death of Jesus. John and Herod shows us what will happen to Jesus when he confronts power. Herod has heard of Jesus and the comparisons to John and this reminds him of John's death. John and Herod had a complicated relationship. John had held Herod accountable for his marriage to his brother's wife. Herod's wife did not like this and wanted John dead. But, at the same time, Herod feared John, for he knew that John was righteous. Because John was holy, Herod arrested him but kept him safe. So when Herod's birthday party roles around and he promises his stepdaughter she can have whatever she wants - she asks for John's head at the prompting of her mother. Herod was in a tough spot for he had promised her anything and even though he believed John to be righteous, he had him killed. Herod sold out, he let the cares of the world determine his action. The weeds had choked out the word of God. John had sowed the seeds of God's kingdom, but Herod's worldly concerns prevented him from hearing the word and acting differently. What worldly concerns choke out God's word today?

Prayer Practice:
Make a list of your concerns and worries. Invite the Holy Spirit to share with you which of these cares are thorny ground in your life. Jesus did not come to call the righteous, but the sinners. Ask Jesus to help you learn to transform your thorny ground cares. Amen.
I Want Jesus to Walk With Me


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Doubts and Discipleship

The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 29

Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.  Mark 6:6b-13
       Can people whose faith is full of doubt be messengers of the kingdom? In this passage from Mark, Jesus calls the twelve together and sends them out. These twelve are those who have wondered who Jesus is, why he wants to know something, how to feed people, where we will get the money. These are the 12 who jumped up to join Jesus on the way and now are having doubts, are full of questions, who just don't seem to get it anymore. As the gospel story continues to unfold, these twelve will continue to misunderstand Jesus and his ministry. This will eventually lead to their denial and desertion. But right now they are eager, but unsure, full of hope and questions. So Jesus takes these twelve who are full of fear and a lack of understanding and sends them out by 2's to expand the mission. Jesus sends them out to preach repentance, to have authority over demons, and to spread the word. They are to rely on the hospitality of the places they visit. If they are not welcome, if the word is not able to be heard, they are to move on. The twelve go out and share of the dawning kingdom. These people whose faith is incomplete and will be tested, can still spread the word, sow the seeds, help bring forth the dawning kingdom. These twelve will have their hardness of heart grow.. but in spite of their fear and lack of understanding, they are given a mission.
       Where are the areas of your doubt? Where are the areas where you don't understand? Are you letting those questions hold you back from serving God? Do not fear, only believe. Take heart, it is I. The Kingdom of God is at hand, believe the Good News.

Prayer Practice:
As you settle into a time of quiet, let your doubts and lack of faith come into your mind. But like the boat journey that Jesus has taken the disciples on let the water, the ebb and flow of faith wash the doubts away. Let the questions not stop you, but become a place for asking questions. Let the sand on your feet fall away. Ask the Spirit to show you where you are to head next on your journey. Amen.

God Gave Me You by Blake Shelton


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Questions

The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 28

He left that place and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’ And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.  Mark 6:1-6a
       Jesus has just had some of his most amazing miracles - he freed a man from a legion of demons, stopped 12 years of bleeding, and raised a girl from the dead. Chapter five has answered the disciples question, "who is this that even the wind and sea obey him?" People are coming for help and to hear his teaching from all over. Yet when Jesus enters his hometown. The people he grew up with, the people who know his family - they challenge him, confront him. They question him: Where did this man get all this?  What is this wisdom given to him? What mighty works are wrought by his hands? Isn't this the son of Mary, brother of James? Who does he think he is? They were astounded by his teaching and not satisfied with his answers. Jesus too was disappointed with these people he grew up among for he was only able to heal a few sick folk and so he left to teach in other villages. These hometown folks had hard hearts, they were unable to hear the word and didn't not produce any fruit, so Jesus moved on.
       What questions of faith do we bring to Jesus today? I think one of the first questions we ask is: Who are you for us today? We don't experience the miracles and the healing and question his presence in our lives. Jesus sows the word that brings people to faith. What if I just can't believe in you? Jesus promises to keep sowing the word. To never give up on us, to keep sowing over and over in the soil of our hearts. Where can I turn for assurance? Read my word. Listen to my word. Call on the Spirit. Can I believe in you and not go to church? Can I be spiritual but not religious? Jesus went to church on the Sabbath (Mk 1:21-28, Mk 3:1-6, Mk 6:1-6). Jesus believes that the church is important, but he also believes in challenging the traditions of the church that hinder compassion and the sowing of the word. He invites us to believe and then question.

Prayer practice:
What are your questions for Jesus? Where are the places where your heart is hard? Make a list. Ask Jesus to help reveal the answers to your questions over the next few weeks. Ask the Spirit to show those place where your heart is hard and compassion is difficult. Ask the Spirit to soften your heart. Amen.

Laughing With God by Regina Spektor


       

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Do Not Fear

The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 27

     When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered round him; and he was by the lake. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.’ So he went with him.
     ...While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?’ But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, ‘Do not fear, only believe.’ He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, ‘Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha cum’, which means, ‘Little girl, get up!’ And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.  Mark 5:21-24, 35-43
       Do not fear, only believe... I find this a hard saying. Do not fear, only believe.  
       This man has watched his vibrant little girl get sick suddenly, and he is in danger of losing his 12 year old daughter. For any parent, this is the hardest news, what do you do? The man, a ruler of the local synagogue, seeks out Jesus. He drops to his knees, bowing down and asks for help. Jesus sets out to help, and on the way, is interrupted by a woman in need. This delay seems to have been enough time for his daughter to die. So the people who come to tell Jairus the news, tell him to let the teacher go, but Jesus says: 'Do not fear, only believe.' This is great to say if you happen to be in the world of the gospel story, where Jesus can continue on and bring your daughter back from the dead. But in the world I live in, your faith has little to do with the illness and death of your child. Whether you believe or don't believe, God will still let bad things happen to good people. Faith or lack of faith will not change the outcome. So telling us not to fear, only believe doesn't bring the miracle so desperately wanted.  
       Mark wants to teach us something with this story. At the first level, Mark is teaching us about the first and the last, the powerful and the weak. Mark is showing us that in God's dawning Kingdom - those who are perceived to be the last, the unwanted, the undesirable, the undeserving by society will be the first in God's sight. A ruler seeks help but is interrupted by a nobody, an unclean woman. Jesus stops, heals her, and calls her daughter. She becomes a member of the family in this new kingdom, while the daughter of the ruler has to wait, come second. In the Family of God, the first will be last and the last will be first.
       At a second level, this story is in answer to the question of the disciples: 'who is this that even the wind and sea obey him.' Jesus is the one who raises people from the dead. Jesus is the one who comes to serve. Jesus is the one who come to heal. Do not fear, only believe.  

Prayer Practice:
Spend you time using these word as your focus. Do not fear... let the places of your fear coming into your mine and hear Jesus say, 'do not fear, only believe.'  Breathe this word in and out on your breath. Let them seep into those places where you are afraid. Let the Jesus touch your fear and whisper to you have faith. Amen.

Do not be afraid by Tanner Clark

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spirit Interruptions

The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 26

And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’ Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?” ’ He looked all round to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’                                                                                                                                            Mark 5:24b-34
       Jesus, while on his way, to heal the ruler of the synagogues daughter, is walking through a crowd of people. Someone in a hopeless situation turns to Jesus. For 12 years this woman had suffered with the flow of blood. She had spent all her money on doctors and cures, but it had only gotten worse. So here in this moment, she had heard the wonders of what Jesus had done and so as he was walking by. She says to herself, “if but I touch him, I will be well.”  So she reaches out and touches his cloak. Immediately she feels her blood stop and healing occur. Jesus perceived that someone had been healed and says who touched me. The disciples seeing the crowd say, of course someone touched you, but Jesus knows this was different and looks around. The woman, with fear and trembling, confessed that she touched him. Jesus says, “Daughter, your faith has made you well, go in peace and be healed of your disease.” The sower’s word has fallen upon her life and made her well. She went from being an outcast and unwanted to a daughter of God’s kingdom. 
Casper Mountain, WY
       I was out with my dog hiking the mountain. We had taken the afternoon off and decided to walk the trail that takes you up and down the side of Casper Mountain. This is our time to bond, get some exercise and get away. I have hiked my way to my favorite spot to stop and prayer. So I sit down and begin my prayer. I let my thoughts and worries of the day become a prayer of intercession to God and then I settle in to my centering prayer and practice breathing in and out. After I have finished praying, we get ready to move on, a woman comes up the hill with her dog and starts walking with us. As we talk and enjoy the beauty of the day, she shares the worry of her heart. I hear her pain and worry and listen. And then we stop and pray. My day, my walk, my bonding time, had turned into a Spirit Interruption – one of those moments when God places you in the path of someone who needs you in that moment to be the presence of God with and for them.

Prayer Practice:
Allow the spirit to blow you today. As you begin your day, invite God to place in your path a Spirit Interruption. And then allow yourself to be open. When you encounter people during the day allow yourself to be guided by the Spirit. You will know when this is the one you were inviting God to bring you too.

Until the Whole World Hears by Casting Crownes


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What has the Lord Done for You

The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 25 

       They came to the other side of the lake, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when he had stepped out of the boat, immediately a man out of the tombs with an unclean spirit met him. He lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him; and he shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.’ For he had said to him, ‘Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!’ Then Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He replied, ‘My name is Legion; for we are many.’ He begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now there on the hillside a great herd of swine was feeding; and the unclean spirits begged him, ‘Send us into the swine; let us enter them.’ So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the lake, and were drowned in the lake.
       The swineherds ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came to see what it was that had happened. They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. Those who had seen what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine reported it. Then they began to beg Jesus to leave their neighbourhood. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. But Jesus refused, and said to him, ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.’ And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.  Mark 5:1-20
      What leads you to tell how much God has done for you? What causes you to work to spread the word and help build the kingdom? What causes you to be the good soil?
       Jesus has crossed to the gentile side of the lake. When he arrives there, a man ran to him and worshiped him. This man was deeply tormented and troubled. The people of his community were afraid of him, so afraid of him they put him in chains that he broke, they locked him in tombs, and tried to keep him away from them. He cried day and night, bruising himself. He cries to Jesus, don't torment me. Jesus calls out the demon, but the demon begs to be saved by being sent into the nearby pigs. Jesus sends the evil legion into the pigs. Jesus who brings the kingdom near, interacts with this outsider among outsiders. Jesus binds the strong man in the land of the gentiles. The coming kingdom is opening up to include those like us and those near but not like us. Jesus saw the faith hidden within this troubled man and drew out the evil. When the townspeople find out, they are still afraid of the man. But this man who came to Jesus in need is healed. He asks to go with Jesus, but Jesus tells him to go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and the mercy God has shown you. This man went out into gentile territory spreading the news, telling his story, for the word needs to spread.  
       When you think about your own life story and faith journey, where did you see God working? Have you shared their story of faith, that testimony to God's mercy and love? For some people have amazing stories like the man with a legion of demons, when you hear their story you think your experience of God's mercy doesn't compare, but for God learning to tell our stories, learning to spread the word of God's kingdom is part of how we share our faith. So what has the Lord done for you? ...
.... It was early in the morning, I hadn't slept all night.  I tossed and turned worrying about the day ahead.  As I got up to get my son to his preschool early so I could be at the court house that was 2 hours away in good traffic. It was the day to meet with the court appointed mediators to make sure the divorce agreement was fair. I was nervous, would they let me leave Connecticut and go to school in Illinois. My son's father had a lawyer, but I didn't. So I didn't know what to expect and was worried. We got to the preschool and I thanked them for letting him come early. Then hoped in my car got on the highway. I was cranking it up high and ready to make some time. I came up a hill and over the top ran into a traffic jam. I wasn't supposed to be hitting a traffic jam yet. I wasn't close enough to Hartford or anywhere near Greenwich. So here 2 minuted out and I was stopped. As we inched up the hill I am praying to God for the traffic to move, for my nerves to be ok, for my son to be protected. I mostly prayed for the traffic to move. I also was sharing some not to nice language about the idiots who couldn't drive and caused and accident. As I crested the next hill, I learned the cause. There across the highway was this incredible rainbow. The traffic wasn't stalled for an accident, it was stalled to enjoy the beauty and comfort of the rainbow. I said ok God, I get it your covenant promise was there with me. But that didn't stop the worries. So then I turned south to head to New Haven and there was another rainbow across the highway and as I crested another hill there was a third rainbow. God's promise was before me. I calmed down. I couldn't control what would happen but I new that God was with me, would always be with me... 


Prayer Practice:
As you quiet your inner voices ask the Spirit to share with you where God has been at work in your life. Ask the Spirit to share with you what the Lord has done for you and when the Lord has shown you mercy. As you experience this journey of the Spirit through your life, ask God to show you or lead you to the people who need to hear about what the Lord has done and the mercy God has shown you. Amen.

Beautiful Rainbows  Storms In Africa (Remastered 2009)" by Enya

Monday, March 10, 2014

Why Are You Afraid

 The Call to Discipleship in The Gospel of Mark, Day 24

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’  Mark 4:35-41
       Why are you afraid? Have you no faith? The tests have been taken and now you wait. Will it be something fixable - will there be a drug, and operation, a change in diet that will work? Will it be ok? Will my family be able to cope? Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?
       Why are you afraid? Have you no faith? As you sit at your temp job wondering if the next customer will be nice or cranky? You worry about what is next - how will you pay the bills if the next job doesn't come? How will you manage on this income if something breaks or goes wrong? Will you ever be able o do the job you love again? Will you find a job that you can love and poor your passion into? Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?
      Why are you afraid? Have you no faith? Your relationship has ended. You wonder what is next? Will you fall in love again? Will you be alone for the rest of your life now that you are older and fatter and wrinklier? Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?
       Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?You have chosen schools. The one you are in love with and the one you can afford? Will you be able to follow your dream? If you go to the affordable one will you be able to get a good job at the end? Will I be ok on my own for the first time? Will I like my suite mates? Will there be anything good to eat? Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?
      Why are you afraid? Have you no faith? The church is struggling. There is only one family with kids. The number of people attending worship are declining? There are no young adults. Will we be able to pay the bills? Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?
       Why are you afraid? Have you no faith? As a church you dreamed a dream. You dreamed a purpose and created a plan and you ready to start. Will the plan work? Will anyone come? Will the help and volunteers join in the dream? Will the compassion you are ready to give be received as a welcome gift of hope? Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?
       Why are you afraid? Have you no faith? As the disciples are in the boat crossing to the other side, a sudden storm comes up and blows the boat. The disciples are worried. They don't understand how Jesus can just be lying there in the back of the boat sleeping. Isn't he afraid of the storm? Doesn't he sense the danger? You go wake him and share you fear of perishing. Jesus says: "Hush!  Be Quiet!" It's like he is speaking to a scared child who has woken in the middle of the night. At his words, the storm quiets and the lake stills. He then looks at you, he sees your fear and wonders about your faith. "Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?" They wonder who this is that even the wind and sea obey him. But Jesus knows they don't get it. They are asking the question that his been answering daily by evil, yet they don't know. Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?

Prayer Practice:
As you settle into a quiet space spend time with the first question. Why are you afraid? Breathe in and out letting the places where you have fear come to the forward? Then ask: "Have you no faith?"  Breath with these words for a moment. Recall before you the moments in your life when you had faith and new without a doubt that God was with you. Then let yourself rest in Jesus' words, "Peace!  Be Still!"  Amen.





Can You Make Me Brave by Andra Moran