Jesus had a habit.
“He went into the synagogue,” says Luke 4:16, “as was his custom.”
It’s the first weekend in Lent. Good time to get back into the habit of joining other followers of Jesus in worship.
Be like Him: make participation in public worship your habit, too.
We utter our cry
that peace may prevail,
that earth will survive,
and faith must not fail.
We pray with our life
for the world in our care,
for people diminished
by doubt and despair.
— current edition, United Methodist Hymnal, p. 439
“Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:20)
Let’s not suddenly realize that our faith has weakened, withered, and died. Let’s pray with our life today.
What will that look like for you?
Author Kurt Vonnegut’s wise advice: Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realize they were big things.
In one of the 2.5 churches I served (great story right there, “2.5 churches”) my first four years out of seminary, one of the pianists drilled this into my heart and head: “Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings, see what God has done. Count your blessings…name them, one by one. Count your many blessings, see what God has done.”
She and Kurt Vonnegut would have a great time sitting down together for coffee.
But the question for you and me is, what little things from yesterday can we now see were really big things?
What of our many blessings have we already enjoyed today?
Let’s you and me make an effort to notice the little things that are really blessings…one by one.
Wanna join me in making a list?
maker of every thing and judge of all that you have made,
from the dust of the earth you have formed us
and from the dust of death you would raise us up.
By the redemptive power of the cross,
create in us clean hearts
and put within us a new spirit,
that we may repent of our sins
and lead lives worthy of your calling;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
— from The United Methodist Hymnal, current edition, page 353
“I don’t care about the big questions
right now, Mulder.
I just want one more chance
to ask my mom a few little ones.”
— FBI Special Agent Dana Scully,
The X-Files, 2016, Episode 5, “Home Again”
Who would it be for you, and what would you ask?
Perhaps more significantly, what will you ask someone today while you still can?
We were in the church nursery yesterday.
The adult staff had just received Holy Communion. I was picking up the little gold-colored plate with the small communion cups in their holders and a space in the middle for the squares of bread when a little voice asked what we were doing.
“Sharing God’s good gifts,” I told her.
The others had gathered around. A quick head count and a scan of the Elements still on the plate revealed a perfect match.
“Can we have some?” one of nursery clients asked.
“Sure,” I replied as they helped themselves.
They were finished as fast as they began.
That’s when one of the children turned to another and said it. Boom. She just blurted it out.
A moment later I was walking back down the hall to our sanctuary. With our Associate Pastor Jessica and our guest speaker Jeff up front presiding, all the rest of the congregation was finishing the celebration of the Sacrament.
And I realized that I had just had church. In our nursery. Because of an unscheduled holy moment and what a nursery kid said. As long as I’ve been in ministry, I don’t think anyone’s said it better.
Her analysis of that shared experience, those simple Elements, that Holy Sacrament? “That’s gooooood.”
By the grace of God, may you and I recover that profound appreciation of God’s good gifts in our lives this week.
Today, I’m grateful to God for that little girl and her excellent theological expression: “That’s gooooood.”
“I’ve never heard anyone complain that Christians act too much like Jesus,” says one K. Vaters, who goes on, “Even the hardest, angriest, most anti-God atheist will complain that the problem with Christians is that we don’t act enough like Jesus.”
What’s one thing you and I can do today to change that?