Monday, March 23, 2020

Covid 19 ...Sunday March 22 Streamed live

Prelude light the candles

Let’s start with three deep breaths from your abdomen and relax….

I do this at night and the morning to just make sure that I’m set to go

As I wake in the morning or rest throughout the day. I give thanks to the sun as it comes up in this way. I feel the wind at my back to help guide me through, in my moments of wondering just what I should do.
I walk through my body to make sure it’s aligned; I move my thoughts from head to toe to see what I might find.  To start up at the top of my head where things seem to linger most, it’s time to start with a nice deep breath and release that bothered host.
Next, I feel my neck react to the calmness that I seek, another breath comes right now you can close your eyes or take a peek. My shoulders follow down the path of letting all this go, I feel this shifting as I breathe not wanting to say no.
Path of calmness radiates, down both arms as it skips, the exhale lets the feeling flow down to my fingertips. A full breath as my chest expands to bring a deeper feeling here, I get a sense of confidence and watch my stresses disappear.
My hips don’t know the pressure, they hold from day to day, that’s why I squeeze my buttock in and let the tightness fade away.   Relaxation seems to flow down one leg to the next, it takes another deep strong breath to let my ankles twist and flex.
Oh, my toes the feeling grows from where it started high, I can see the energy shoot, right up to the sky.  Now that I reached the bottom of my journey to unwind, it’s time to do some extra deep breathes and take a little time.
Feel the wind beneath my self to float up to the sky and take this time to be the best while my body takes a cleansing sigh.

Call To Worship (responsive):.
Leader: Open our eyes to see Your care.
People: Shepherd us, O God.
Leader: Shear our fascination with the ways of the world.
People: Shepherd us, O God.
Leader: Prepare us to follow You.
People: Shepherd us o lord

Psalm 95

Fourth Sunday in Lent
It’s Sunday morning. Last week, with all its demands, is over. The coming week, with yet another round of challenges and demands, is not quite here. I invite you to close your eyes and be in the moment. No matter where you are in your thoughts and feelings—relieved about what you have accomplished, anxious about what’s left undone, concerned about people or projects—no matter where you are in your journey this day—I encourage you to set all that aside and consider where you are right now. Whatever is true for you right now, in this moment, whether it be joy or sadness, gratitude or anxiety, let it come forward. When it is fully present, then listen  . . . for God is present in these moments, too. God meets you where you are and calls you forward, moment by moment, guiding you slowly but surely toward transformation.
(Silent time.)

As we extinguish this light, we acknowledge the darkness and pain caused by the lack of basic needs—lack of food, of shelter, of education, of healthcare, of love.
(A candle is extinguished.)

Let us pray:
Loving God, we thank You that You are with us, and that we may call upon You no matter where we are, or what we are feeling. Keep us mindful of Your presence and trusting in Your promise - that You are working with us in the moment-by-moment unfolding of our lives. Amen.

Today’s Gospel reading is

John 9:1-41

A Man Born Blind Receives Sight

As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We[a] must work the works of him who sent me[b] while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, “He is a prophet.”

18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus[c] to be the Messiah[d] would be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” 25 He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28 Then they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out.

35 Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”[e] 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir?[f] Tell me, so that I may believe in him.” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” 38 He said, “Lord,[g] I believe.” And he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.

The word of God for the people of God!

How were your eyes open? How did you receive your sight? How then does he see? What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?

Five questions…Five times they asked the blind man; “how did Jesus give you sight?”

And he tells them it’s like one of those late night TV ads …Buy this dirt and in a few easy steps it will remove your blindness

Take dirt, make mud, rub it on your eyes and then go wash in the pool of Siloam…all inclusive package shipped to your home including the water from the pool…

Only problem is the package doesn’t include Jesus or more importantly Jesus way of being in the world

When the religious leaders ask for the fifth time a question using the word “how”—“How did he open your eyes?”—we see that they are fixated on method rather than going to the deeper question: Who is this healer? But is that their motive or are they using the question to hid their alterior motive, find a way to trip up Jesus?

Getting fed up with the questioning the blind man sarcastically asks; “why do you want to become his disciple” .. “you’re the disciple not us …how dare you …get out.”

It is strange that the leaders are upset that Jesus perform Holy works on the Holy day, on the Sabbath, wouldn’t that just make the healing doubly blessed?

“The religious leaders even turn against the now-sighted man with disgust that he, a sinner, would deign to tell them how to think about Jesus. You can almost smell the vainglory dripping off these affronted religious types. We know them in our own time. They often get caught offending in just the way they accuse others of sinning.

Jesus’ absence for most of the story gives the ignorant and threatened people time to try to find someone who will blame Jesus rather than giving him credit for a good gift. When he reappears, he perfectly depicts in double meaning the point of his healing: “I came into this world ... so that those who do not see may see” (John 9:39).”[1]

The absence of Jesus allows for ignorance, fear and anger to rise up and dominate most of the story.  Isn’t that interesting?

Is this applicable today? Some may say these days are dark times.  It may feel to some of us even apocalyptic in nature.

Todays Letter from the Ephesians reads, in part, For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. (Eph 5:8-9)

And so

“Abiding “in darkness”—as the Epistle contrasts that place with being “in the Lord”—has to do with orientation, perspective, and goals. Consider what you learn from a visit to an underground mine, for instance, when the guide turns off the lights for a brief moment.
  • You are oriented only to yourself—the clammy humidity on your skin that occurs far underground, hearing or feeling the beat of your heart.
  • You can no longer see anyone else in the group.
  • You alone are important; there is no larger picture.
  • You are focused on the moment, on temporal safety.
(OK this may be a little dramatic, but if you’ve been in a mine without light, you know I’m telling the truth!)
On the other hand, when you are living “in the Lord,” the scope enlarges.
  • You can see other people.
  • Community becomes possible.
  • You step with confidence into the unknown.
  • You comprehend the landscape, the big picture.
These are conditions for an orientation that can lead to “what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10).”[2]

To say we are stepping into the landscape of the unknown is an understatement.
To hear these  words and say wait  I can’t see other people, community is not possible, I am afraid to step into this unknown with confidence is an authentic response. 

Yet through who we are as the federated church, who we are called to be as a Christian community, a community who strives for Love of Neighbor we can say yes to all above through Christ. 

If we pause to be centered. If we pause to listen. Our eyes are open to all sorts of possibilities in this time of social distancing.

We can still see other people… even if it is from a distance ( someone que Bette Midler)
We can reach out to our community in need and feed, literally feed each other…
Is someone incapable or too afraid to go out?  Call one of your brothers or sisters in Christ and see if they may be able to shop for you?

If you go shopping please drop of something at the food pantry…It is getting busy around here…
Phones work…call one another…have coffee together just be sure to sit across the table form one another…

Pray for each other and the world around us.. Pray this ends soon…Pray for stillness .. pray for peace…

Spring is in the air get out of the house…it is perfectly safe to walk around and wave at our neighbors…

“When Jesus returns to the story at the end, he pulls out from God’s word the deeper meaning of having vision. He enlarges the meaning of the light that God gives so that it becomes a kind of interior seeing. Having vision becomes a way to connect with others.

The healed man doesn’t get caught up in the obfuscating questions of the religious leaders like whether Jesus is a sinner. The healed man says what he knows to be the flat truth: he healed me. And he is gutsy. He sounds exasperated at the religious leaders when they want to hear it again and he says, “I have told you already, and you would not listen.” His vision has brought him a clarity that we might all admire. Vision brings wisdom.”[3]

Vision brings wisdom. Our vision, our prayers, prayers thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, takes time and patience.  Today we are breathing into a new vision, a temporary vision of what it means to be community. This isn’t forever. But if we use our inner light to look out into this world we can see and hear Jesus call to get creative, be patient, and continue to love one another.

“The story of the blind man’s healing in John can be recounted in three parts:
  1. Jesus comes and heals the man born blind.
  2. Everybody is in a dither trying to figure out what happened.
  3. Jesus comes again to the healed man when he is kicked out of the community.
This movement of events mirrors our world in every age:
  1. Jesus came.
  2. We wonder what happened and argue about it.
  3. Jesus comes to us ... again and again ... with healing.
Jesus, the light of the world, is a mystery, except that while the whole world around the blind man is confused, the blind man is quietly abandoned by everyone but Jesus.
Finally, notice Jesus’ most telling action. Jesus comes to the man in his blindness and gives him vision. He does not quiz the blind man about anything. Only later, when Jesus returns, does he use the word “believe.” His healing makes no conditions.”[4]

We now more than ever have the power to be the calm presence of Christ to each other and those around us.  We can offer healing in small simple actions.  With the light of Christ in us we remain the vision of Christs kin-dom in action..

Please write your joys and concerns in the comment section and I will lift them up after this hymn

Glory to God in the highest…

Let us pray the prayer Jesus taught us

Our Creator, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kin-dom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kin-dom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen

Normally this would be the call to the offering if you would care to you can mail in your offerings or go to the top of the webpage and click the donate now
The office is open for regular hours
We are accepting donations for the kidz cupboard and the food pantry

I am available for one on visits or phone calls if you need any prayer we will be together again soon but until then remember you are the hands and the feet of our lord in this world and in this world of no physical contact we can still smile, wave, chat , check in

Prayer of St Theresa,

[4] ditto

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