Monday, March 5, 2018

Lent - Week 4, Day 2

Br. Nelson speaks in today's video about the story of "Doubting" Thomas.  "Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas answered him, 'My Lord and my God!'"  (John 20:26-28)  His discussion talks about participating in the community, the Body of Christ, wholeheartedly, when we feel like it, and when we don't.

One of my most favorite parts of that story is Christ's statement when he enters, "Peace be with you."  How often, when we pass the peace at church, are we merely saying the words, without thinking about what they actually mean?  Part of participating in the community is participating  wholeheartedly.  Don't just say the words - Mean them! 

Think about what you are wishing for the other person - do you wish them peace?  Then look them in the eye, and say so, with all your heart.  Do you give hugs when you pass the peace?  Have you ever thought that your hug might be the only physical contact another person gets all week?  How special that is to that person - and it can be more special by meaning the words you're saying, by passing the peace of Christ, which passes all understanding, onto that person.  You might surprise even yourself.

Watch the video here, and think about how God sees each of us as His children - maybe you'll recognize some of your own congregants' inner children here.  Peace be with You!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Lent - Week 4, Day 1

Br. Tristram introduces us in today's video to the friendship of Jesus, particularly between Jesus and the beloved disciple.  "One of his disciples – the one whom Jesus loved – was reclining next to him." (John 13:23)

After listening to the video, think back - where have you seen or recognized Jesus in your life?  What is the one thing that makes you automatically think, oh, there He is! 

And when you have those answers, think about it - what is your automatic, immediate response?

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Lent - Week 3, Day 7

As always on Saturdays, if you've missed any of the videos from SSJE, you can find them here.  This week's theme has focused on being "close to the Father's heart" and focusing on our personal relationship with God. 

Think about your own relationship with God.  Listen to the words of this song, and move a little closer to the Father's heart:

Friday, March 2, 2018

Lent - Week 3, Day 6

Br. Ditewig quotes John 4:11-12:  "Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love on another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us."  The video for today talks about how to build relationship with the receiving of a gift, and thanking them for the gift.

We know that through baptism, we receive spiritual gifts.  Do you know what your gifts are?  You might actually be surprised.  If you're interested, take the survey, and see where your strengths lie, through the gifts of God.  Be honest, and potentially ask someone else to rate how they see you, to see if there are differences.

But then, first, thank God for the gifts He's given you.  Sit down and think how you might be able to do those gifts honor, and pay forward those gifts to the people around you, to God's creation.  Think about how to build relationship with both God and others.  Allow God's love to be "perfected in" us.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Lent - Week 3, Day 5

In today's video, Br. Nelson quotes the 5th Chapter of John:  "I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me."  He talks about the intimacy we have, where an activity doesn't matter, but rather the person you're spending time with.  There is a matter of give and take - and intimacy with God requires that we learn to listen, and not just talk.

There's a great "comedic" skit that makes this point really well - and goes back to having coffee, that we talked about yesterday.

So in a different way from what Br. Nelson says, "So perhaps the way to pray with this might just be to sit, listen to God, with a kind of expectancy that has no expectations, and ask God," What would you like me to do today?

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Lent - Week 3, Day 4

Br. Woodrum speaks to intimate moments with his own family in today's video.  He points out that "Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise."  (John 5:19)

Again, we're talking about talking with Jesus (not "to", but with, so don't forget to listen too), to develop that same sort of intimate relationship with Him.  Remember that it doesn't always have to be serious, it doesn't always have to be "deep", and it doesn't always have to be a prayer of requests, but can be the joy of sharing, the relief to be facing another day, the smiles we share with those who know us intimately as we head off into our day.

Try this:

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Lent - Week 3, Day 3

Br. Vryhof points out in today's video that we must have a deep level of trust in God in order to achieve the level of intimacy that we seek with God.  "The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing." (John 5:20)

Even as we understand that everything we know about God comes from Jesus, we should also recognize that everything we know about each other is only that which we let others see about ourselves.  God, however, knows all parts of us.  Do we, in our prayers, open ourselves in trust to God, and be fully, completely authentic in who we are?  That's sometimes a very tough thing to do - it's often tough for us to be fully open to ourselves, let alone anyone outside of ourselves. 

However, if we remember that through our baptism, we are endowed with that Divine spark that makes us part of the body in Christ, we know that God is within us as well. 

Today, open yourself to the idea that God sees all parts of you - the beautiful, the messy, the loving, the angry, the kind and the forgetful.  Let yourself dwell in that thought for a bit, and then talk with God.  Be open with Him; trust Him.