pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Be the Hands…

Reading: Psalm 95

Verse 2: “Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song”.

As many arise today and ponder going to church, there is a new reality that one considers. A dangerous illness has spread across the world and it causes us to take pause before engaging in an event or gathering. Schools have shut down for at least a week; sporting and other large events have been postponed or cancelled. At least for this Sunday we will gather as a community of faith to worship. At least for today we will “come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song”. Several or many will gather with us virtually as they watch the live stream and sing, pray, and listen from home.

In this new era of social distancing the decision to stay home is a wise and prudent decision for many. Let us remember that within that group are some who are vulnerable at this time. In our church and in almost all churches, the elderly are a group that falls into this category. Like with other groups that are vulnerable at this time, as people of faith we must step up and engage in ways that are safe and loving. So make a phone call and check in on that elderly person or couple on your block. So drop off some groceries or take a meal to that family a couple houses away with children who are missing the food that they usually get at school. So write a note of encouragement to those you know who are on the front lines of this medical battle. And, of course, pray. Pray for the sick, pray for the lonely, pray for the poor… Pray, pray, pray.

The psalmist reminds us that God is the creator. God is the maker and we are the “people of his pasture”. May we hear his voice. May we fight the tendency to harden our hearts. Instead, may we trust in his power and might. In this time of crisis in our land and in our communities, be the hands and feet and voice of Jesus Christ. You are needed.

Prayer: Lord God, I pray for your healing touch to fall upon our world. With you, anything is possible. So I pray for healing. As I wait, guide me to be love in my community. Amen.


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No Matter the Messanger

Luke announces the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry within the context of who is in charge officially.  He names Tiberius Caesar along with more local rulers like Herod and Pilate.  All were men with great power over the people they ruled.  They decided on most matters of daily life and had the power to decide who lived and who died.  Rome was powerful and kept a tight leash on its subjects.  Within this system the Jewish religious leaders – Annas and Caiaphas – had some limited power.  It was far less power than the Roman rulers, but far more than the common people of Israel.

Into this context of political and religious leaders who love pomp and circumstance, who love to appear large and in charge, steps John.  He was humble and dressed in the simplest of clothing.  Instead of palaces and villas, he lived in the desert.  Instead of fine food and other luxuries, he ate wild locusts and honey.  After looking at the leaders on big thrones and in fine attire, many ust of looked at John and said, “Huh?”  The authorities must have really wondered about leaving the fine trappings of their courts and heading out into the wilderness to listen to this peasant.

But wouldn’t we say the same thing if John were to appear in our town?  In my town he would live along the creek and take shleter under a bridge or he would live up in the low hills on the edge of town and sleep in a tent or lean-to.  After a few days of John living this way, maybe more than a few of us would rather not be too near him.  We are used to our important information coming from men and women in nice clothes or in black robes.  But they are not the only sources.

We must be open to God’s word coming from any source.  He has picked some surprising people and will continue to do so.  From the elderly to the child, from the suit to the rags, God can and will use anyone to bring His message to us.  He could even use you or me.  May we have eyes to see and ears to hear all that God desires us to see and hear, no matter the messanger.

Scripture reference: Luke 3: 1-2