Sunday, April 30, 2017

Hold on Tight

Summer is almost here! I don't know about you, but I'm in that home stretch with end of year parties, programs and presentations. It is hectic, adorable, and even emotional as my babies are moving on to the next grade.  As the year closes I can't help but look at pictures from the first day of school and think - how are we already here? In the midst of field trips, homework, early (way-to-early) mornings the year has flown by. The old adage that the days are long but the years are short certainly can ring true. As I sit waiting for Danny's last school presentation of his amazing Pre-K3 year to begin, I can't help but think back on the days that brought us here.

God was with us. God was with us when Danny started this new school. God was with us when milestone after milestone was met. God was with us when new friends were made and when challenges occurred. God is there in the calm times and in the hectic.

So often we reach out to God when our world seems to tailspin. We seek His face when we are staring calamity right in the eye. But God desires so much more than that. Scripture is full of verses about God's deep love for us, how He knows every facet about us, and how He longs for us to seek His face in the details. May we use this busy "end of year" craziness as a time to reach out to God. Let us cling to His promises of love for us and know that He has us. Each and every step of the way. In the good and the tough. God is with us. Hallelujah!

Rev. Michelle

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Final Week

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.  And supper being ended the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God. . .
John 13: 1-3

Jesus’ public ministry had come to an end. On Palm Sunday he triumphantly entered the Holy City, surrounded by an adoring crowd.  Then-- that same fickle crowd would turn against Him.  It was the Feast of the Passover. Jesus wanted to have this Last Supper with His disciples before His humiliation began.  Nowhere else in the Bible do we see so clearly the heart of Jesus.

Jesus had no doubts about who He was (the only begotten Son of God), why He had come into the (to redeem the people that His Father had given to Him) or what was expected of Him (to die on the Cross for the sins of those people). He also knew that His Father would glorify Him (by raising Him up from the dead and placing all creation in His hands).

Look at this phrase again: “. . . having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.”  Jesus wants to convey a message to all of us for whom He was about to suffer. The Disciples were just like us, struggling to understand. They too had doubts. He was assuring us that He loves us as well.  He knows we struggle. He knows we have doubts from time to time.  He wants us to know that those things do not count against us.  He loves us to the end.

On that evening, in that Upper Room, knowing that all power and glory were His -- and knowing the struggles of His Disciples --  what did Jesus do?

[He]  got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself.  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. John 13: 4-5

Rather than holding a pep rally or rallying there spirits, He washed their feet.

Jesus knew that He had come from and was returning to God.  His earthly ordeal was over. His time was immediately at hand. Human nature might dictate that react to that reality with denial or escapism.  But --  He washed the disciples’ feet.

What Jesus knew and wanted His disciples to understand, is that no one is closer to God than when he is serving suffering humanity.

Remember this as well.  He was about to be betrayed by one of is own.  Human nature would dictate resentment, anger, bitter disappointment.  Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. . .including Judas’.

Pastor Jim