Archive for February, 2012

Wednesday, February 27th. Genesis 17:7

February 29, 2012

Our devotions this Lenten season have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church.  Today’s devotion is by Jimmy and Jan Zunker. Also, if you would like to join our staff in praying the liturgy for Responsive Prayer/Suffrages just click here.

 

I will establish my covenant between you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants.Genesis 17:7 

 

People who keep their promises inspire our trust and we are willing to take their word seriously because we trust them.  We feel confident that we can entrust ourselves to them.

 

In Genesis, God made many promises to Abraham and Abraham believed God and trusted his promises. Earlier in Chapter 17, we are told that the Lord appeared to Abraham when he was ninety-nine years old and promised Abraham that “he would be God to him and to his descendants.”  The prospects of him becoming a father with many descendants seemed to be a dim possibility given his age. God’s covenant promise was an everlasting covenant and a guarantee of a life that would be filled with descendants even beyond his own immediate family. 

 

In Genesis 17:4, God promised Abraham that he would be the Father of a multitude of nations and by him all the families of the earth would be blessed. God’s purpose was that Abraham and his descendants would become channels of blessing through whom God’s redeeming work would be done throughout the whole world.

Many of us at Faith have been blessed with children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and we are grateful to God for the blessing of each one of them. They have brought much joy to our lives and the lives of others.  We stop to always remember that God is the Creator and source of this rich blessing. We are thankful to God that his covenant promise “to be God to Abraham” is also a promise to us and our descendants.

 

We are God’s people and we are called by God to reach out and be a blessing to others so that God’s promises can become a reality in the lives of others and they can also hear God’s word of promise “I will be a God to you and to your descendants.”  We are called to reach out beyond this congregation to embrace and invite others to become part of God’s family and receive his blessing. The mission of Faith Lutheran Church is to follow Jesus in blessing the world with faith, hope, and love.

 

Let us pray:  Gracious and faithful God, we give you thanks that your covenant promise includes us. We thank you for the opportunity and privilege we have to become a part of your mission to bless the world.  Open our hearts and eyes to see opportunities to serve you and bless others.  In Jesus’ name we pray,  Amen.

 

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Tuesday, February 27th. 1 John 4:8

February 28, 2012

Our devotions this Lenten season have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church.  Today’s devotion is by Cliff and Myra Condit. Also, if you would like to join our staff in praying the liturgy for Responsive Prayer/Suffrages just click here.

 

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  1 John 4:8

 

Often you hear people ask, “Is Jesus really God?”   “Did He come to save sinners like you and me?”  “Does God care about me?”

 

First John was written to dispel doubts and build assurance by presenting a clear picture of Christ.  Entering history, Jesus was and is God in the flesh and God in focus – seen, heard, and touched.  The disciples knew Jesus and knew God.  They enjoyed fellowship with the Father and the Son all the days of their lives.

 

The Apostle John writes this letter to present God as light, as love, and as life.  He explains in simple and practical terms what it means to have fellowship with God.  He opens the letter by presenting God as “light” – symbolizing absolute purity and holiness.  And he explains how believers can walk in the light and have fellowship with God.  If they sin, Christ is their defender.  John urges them to obey Christ fully and to love all the members of God’s family.

 

Then he goes on to present God as “love” – giving, dying, forgiving, and blessing.  “God is love,” he says, and because God loves us, He calls us His children and makes us like Christ.

 

This truth should motivate us to live close to Him.  We can be sure of our relationship with God when our lives are filled with good works and love for others.  Then we will “know God, for God is love.”

 

Let us pray:  Lord, we thank you for giving us your love in Christ.  Enable us to speak your truth in love to others as we work to build your church for all people as you have asked us to do.  Amen.

 

Monday, February 27th. Matthew 5:14-15

February 27, 2012

Our devotions this Lenten season have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church.  Today’s devotion is by Kate Mitsakis. Also, if you would like to join our staff in praying the liturgy for Responsive Prayer/Suffrages just click here.

 

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  Matthew 5: 14-15

 

When John and I started dating, I was very involved with my church, teaching Sunday school and working with Confirmation, while John, after dealing with the grief of the loss of his parents, had decided that he wasn’t so sure about the faith thing, and even questioned his belief in God. 

 

One day, he told me he found it hard to believe that God could exist when so much bad had happened in his life.  I told him that I understood – and that at the same time, I always thought, if God didn’t exist, the joke might be on me and not too much harm would be done, but if He did exist, I didn’t want to miss out.  

 

I told John I would love for him to be a part of church with me, but that I didn’t want him to feel pressured –  he was always invited, all he had to do was be ready to go at 8:45 AM on Sunday. 

 

Over time, he accepted this invitation and slowly became a frequent visitor.  Now, as we raise our son, Niko, church has become such an important part of our life, and our faith journey that we travel together. 

 

Our story definitely shapes our understanding of Evangelism and how we hope to teach it to our children and share with others around us – the light that shines in us can brighten up the lives of others just by us having the courage to let it shine.  We strive always to love those around us, to understand and accept, and to share our faith in the little ways that can make such a big difference.

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, thank you for sharing your light with us, and allowing it to light our lives with all of the wonderful things that You give to us every day.  Please give us the wisdom and the strength to share this with others so that we might all share the brightness with which we are blessed.  Amen.

Friday, February 24th. Colossians 3:12-14

February 24, 2012

Our devotions this Lenten season have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church.  Today’s devotion is by Alison Obr.  Also, if you would like to join our staff in praying the liturgy for Responsive Prayer/Suffrages just click here.

 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14

 

Suicide. A word that is tainted with emotion and stigma in our world today. Last year around this time my family had to deal with the pain and emotion of almost losing a loved one to suicide.

 

Even now, it is difficult for me to talk about it with the stigma that is associated with this one word. It is impossible to understand the person you love so much would think life is so terrible to just remove themselves from it, but here we are, as many families, facing something we are taught is not Christian.

 

The anger I had towards my grandmother made it impossible to “bear with her and forgive her.” While I have unconditional love for her, it took me many months to even speak with her. After months of prayer, contemplation, and family counseling, I felt a large presence whispering to forgive and be patient.

 

The church became my place of comfort and healing and my relationship with God expanded to depths I could never imagine. Forgiveness is the one thing that is so difficult to do and yet we are presented with this time and time again. After I forgave my Grams, I finally was able to rebuild those relationships that existed when I was a child.

 

Sometimes tragedy happens for a reason and although this is a tragedy, I would never wish for anyone, it has taught me to be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient towards those struggling with their own demons in this world. Remember God has chosen you and loves you so completely that everything that happens in our lives is to help open our eyes for those struggling as we are.      

 

Let us pray:  Heavenly Father, help us to be patient with one another and treat each other with kindness as we look for healing in our own lives. Help us to forgive one another for our actions, as we are not perfect in this life. Teach us compassion and humility to help those struggling in their own lives and lead us to walk with them in their healing.  Amen.

Thursday, February 23rd. Psalm 51:10

February 23, 2012

Our devotions throughout Lent have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church.  Today’s devotion is by Sara Karrow.

 

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew my steadfast spirit within me.  Psalm 51:10

 

Scars tell stories.  The one on my knee is the result of a lost 3-way fight between my 8-year old self, my banana bike, and a gravel street.  Witnessing the wreck, my friend’s mother picked me up and took me home to my own mother, then stayed to help her pick out the grit.  A long white scar marks my college graduation, receiving my diploma in a hospital room after emergency surgery a few days prior.  Five more tiny scars tell of an amazing operation in which my surgeon was assisted by a robot.

 

Scars are also the sign of physical healing.  They only appear after the blood and dirt are washed away, the scabs have fallen, and our bruises have gone from purple to that oh-so-peculiar shade of yellow.

 

Likewise, God has promised to clean and mend our messy, damaged spirits with his loving touch, whether our wounds are self-inflicted from within by our own sin or from without as we suffer from hurts caused by others.  God’s healing scar tissue strengthens us from the inside and reminds us of our journeys.  So wear your scars proudly – they are gifts!

 

Let us pray:  Heavenly Father, you are the healer of all hurts.  Like David, we ask that you pick the grit out of our scraped-up hearts, cleanse our sins away, and renew us with the healing scar tissue of forgiveness.  In your Son’s name we pray.  Amen.

 

Ash Wednesday, February 22nd. Mark 6:14-29

February 22, 2012

14 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”

 

17 For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. 18 For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. 22 When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” 23 And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” 24 She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the baptizer.” 25 Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27 Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb. Mark 6:14-29

 

Today is Ash Wednesday.  Our walk through Mark has taken us, on this day of all days, to the story of the death of John the Baptizer.  We haven’t heard from John since Mark 1:14 where his arrest is reported as the first clause in the sentence where Jesus preaches his first sermon.  Now we know what happened.

 

Herod Antipas, a cruel Roman puppet who had been given the central region of Israel by his father, Herod the Great, beheaded John the Baptist to save face because of a drunken promise to his daughter who had danced to please the party goer’s at a birthday party Herod threw for himself.  He had easy access to John because Herod had been holding him in prison, at his wife’s insistence, since John criticized Herod for stealing his brother’s wife.

 

Read that paragraph again a few times and let the utter dysfunctional depravity of it sink in.  John, the long promised forerunner of the Messiah, was brutally murdered because a drunken king couldn’t stand the nagging of his wife, whom he had stolen from his brother.

 

Given that we are reading this on Ash Wednesday, knowing that before today is over we will receive the mark of our mortality on our foreheads, we need to hear three things from this story.

 

First, if we believe that government, our government, any government, will be our savior then we are most to be pitied.  Our government might be of the people, by the people, for the people – but it is still about people.  It is and will always be about power and position and privilege and ever capable of the most heinous acts of evil.

 

Second, the strange thing about this text is that Herod was actually interested in John.  The text says “for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him.”  Understand this – the most powerful force that blunts the Christian message in the world today isn’t paganism or non-Christian religions, it is instead far too many nominal Christians who are “interested” in the faith but hold themselves back from going all in.

 

I see this in myself all the time.  I know what is right but I don’t do it.  I know what I feel compelled to say but I hold back.  I know the priorities I want to live my life by but I allow other priorities to elbow their way in.  I know the person I want to be but I keep seeing the person in the mirror that I am.  I’m no better than Herod but I long for the faith of John.

 

So lastly, let’s just close with this.  When we gather in worship later today, we will be given opportunity to confess.  To acknowledge before God and those around us that we have sold out, by what we have done and by what we have failed to do.  We’ll be reminded again that our faith is about what we give, not about what we get.  It is about Jesus and Jesus’ way of being in the world, not about us and our preferred ways of being in the world.  So we will be invited to surrender.  To remember.  To repent.  To return.  To be, yet again, born again to a new way of being.

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, how amazing that we look at the darkness and brokeness of our lives in this fallen world and remember that you haven’t rejected us but in fact have embraced us in your death and resurrection.  Come to us again this day, recreate us, that the light of your love might shine through us.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 21st. Mark 6:6-13

February 21, 2012

Then he went about among the villages teaching. 7 He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9 but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10 He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11 If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13 They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. Mark 6:6-13

 

I preached the first sermon of my new life as an ordained pastor in July of 1988 and this was the lectionary text assigned for that day.  I’ll never forget it.  I remember reading these verses, especially the instructions to travel light, knowing that, although my wife and I were dirt poor, it had still taken the largest truck that U-Haul rented to haul our junk from Minnesota to Texas.

 

Jesus sends the disciples out in pairs.  It made sense.  Working in teams gives people the opportunity to encourage one another and to hold one another accountable.  It was safer in dangerous places.  It met the requirement that it takes at least two to bear witness.

 

He tells them to travel light, to take nothing for their journey except “a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.”  This is ironic – we just had a group of visitors in worship this Sunday who were in town to receive training as mission developers for new congregations.  They attended our first worship service and then we had an hour to “talk shop” as they ate a nice breakfast in our “Common Grounds Coffee Shop.” Their first questions were “Who chooses the songs for your band?” and “Who puts together the PowerPoint show?”

 

It seems we have come a long way from no bread, no bag, no money.  That old U-Haul truck still sneers at me.

 

Jesus is under no illusion that what he is proclaiming as “good news” will sound good in everyone’s ears.  An invitation to “repent” will be welcome to anyone who is up to their ears in trouble and looking for a fresh start – but it will always be an affront to those who seem to be doing life quite well on their own.  Thus Jesus prepares his disciples with an escape plan from those who reject the message: If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.

 

At the end of the day, at least in this part of the story, the disciples do exactly as they are told.  They cast out demons and heal the sick – they do, on Jesus’ behalf, just what they had seen Jesus doing.  This is amazing stuff.

 

So…in the back of my mind…I’m wondering….

 

I know how this story ends.  There will be a trip to Jerusalem.  An arrest.  A mock trial.  There will be cruel taunts, vicious blows, the snap of a flesh-eating whip.  The first Mardi Gras parade will be feature a bloodied man carrying the crossbar to the final destination of a Roman execution site.  Those demon casting, sick healing, no bag, no money disciples will be nowhere to be found.

 

We’re still sent on God’s mission into the world.  And though we might have a lot more baggage, it isn’t about the baggage.  It never has been.  It has always been about the authority and power of Jesus and our willingness to go. 

 

To go and tell the story of execution swallowed up by resurrection.  The invitation to repent and to believe.

 

Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, on this Fat Tuesday, we pray for the willingness to go where you send us, to do what you call us to do, to be the people and the presence that you have called us to be.  Walk with us as we travel into this season of Lent.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Monday, February 20th. Mark 6:1-6

February 20, 2012

He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” 5 And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief.  Mark 6:1-6

 

Alan is our organist at Faith.  Yesterday afternoon in the hallway the poor guy asked me – knowing that I played basketball several decades ago – what I thought about the “Lin-sanity” going on with Jeremy Lin coming out of nowhere to newfound stardom with the New York Knicks.  I told him I couldn’t care less.

 

Alan persisted.  “But don’t you think it’s a great story?”  I stuck to my guns.  “I’m done with NBA basketball.  I have no interest in it.”

 

But now, here I am, beginning a Monday morning devotion by connecting the lukewarm reception that Jesus got in his hometown synagogue to the Houston Rockets releasing Jeremy Lin so he could go become a star in New York.  Go figure.

 

Perhaps that is a safe move.  It would be much scarier to remember that no one in my hometown, absolutely no one who knew me as a kid, would in their wildest dreams have thought that Kerry Nelson would grow up to become a Lutheran pastor.  Not to mention what it feels like for others in my family to see me every day and have to connect the dots to what I do for a living.

 

As a kid, I thought that the only thing worse than being a pastor would be being a pastor’s kid. “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.”  It is no doubt presumptive to see myself reflected in this line…but it does signal the truth behind it.

 

The reaction that Jesus got in the synagogue that day wasn’t about him.  He was just doing his thing – teaching, healing, being with people.  The reaction was all about the crowds.  It was about people who had gone a long time without “faith” holding much surprise in their lives.  About people who had long forgotten that God really cared about normal people, poor people, village people, sick people.

 

The god they held in their imagination would be mighty, resplendent, decked out in fine clothes, on a chariot of fire – not the power of love flowing through a guy from the neighborhood.  They couldn’t connect the dots.

 

It is ironic to hold both ends of this sentence together: And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them.  I’m thinking that curing a few sick people is as miraculous as anything else Jesus did but Mark is arguing that there is a connection between the faith of the people and the ability of Jesus to do with power what Jesus was sent to do.

 

Jeremy Lin, after all, doesn’t play the game by himself.  Which is why I need to tell Alan the next time that I see him that yes, it is a great story about how one person can rally a team, excite a city, and inspire millions.

 

All I know for sure is that, long after the media moves on to the next distraction from the realities of life, Jesus will still be working good in the world through the lives of those who trust him.

 

Let us pray:  Dear Jesus, truth be told, we probably wouldn’t have recognized you for who you are had we been there that day.  Our imaginations are too blunted by disappointment and distractions.  So we pray today for the gift of faith and the ability to recognize you in our midst, that we might respond with praise and lives of loving service.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Friday, February 17th. Mark 5:24b-34

February 17, 2012

And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 26 She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 29 Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 He looked all around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”  Mark 5:24b-34

 

At the end of the 1st chapter in Mark Jesus heals a leper.  Whatever the nature of that skin condition, it caused suffering on three levels.  Physically, it brought whatever pain that particular condition caused.  Emotionally, it resulted in the leper being declared unclean, forced to live separately from their own village and to shout “unclean, unclean” if anyone came near him.  And spiritually, given everyone’s theological assumption that such a condition could only come because God was punishing him for something, it was devastating.

 

This woman shared those three sources of pain.  For twelve long years. Twelve years.  The age of maturity.  The twelve tribes of Israel.  The twelve baskets of leftovers.  God is up to something here.

 

Her story comes tucked in the middle of the healing of Jairus’s daughter.  Jairus’s daughter, whom we read about yesterday, was twelve years old.  As a child of the leader of the synagogue, she lived among those of a bit higher social standing.  Her illness seems to have been noticed by the whole village as a crowd of mourners was already gathered outside of her home.  Her illness was perceived as tragedy, not punishment.  She wasn’t cast aside but surrounded by care.

 

But now we see this unnamed woman who had been suffering for as many years as Jairus’s daughter had been alive.  Her hemorrhages, very likely menstrual bleeding, made her unclean.  She seems utterly alone although surrounded by a crowd.  She had repeatedly turned for help to physicians who had been unable to stop the bleeding.  She had nowhere else to go.  With a desperate faith she turned to Jesus.

 

“If I but touch his clothes…”

 

It is interesting that Jesus doesn’t know what happened.  Only when the woman, in fear and trembling, confesses to him does he notice her.  And then he says the words that she will never forget for the rest of her life.  “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”  

 

Something good is going to happen in people’s lives when Jesus shows up.  Let that thought sit in your heart as you move into this weekend.  Something good happens when Jesus shows up.

 

Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, thank you for responding to people who cry out for help and thank you for being there for those who feel themselves lost in the crowd.  Thank you for noticing people on the edge – on the edge of the crowd, on the edge of life, on the edge of their abilities to cope with life.  May the power of your love breath new life into us today and every day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Thursday, February 16th. Mark 5:21-24,35-43

February 16, 2012

21 When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23 and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” 24 So he went with him….  35 While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38 When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. Mark 5:21-24,35-43

 

We’re doing a little bit of injustice to Mark this morning.  Today’s reading appears to be a continuous story but Mark included, right in the middle, another healing of an older woman.  We’ll take up that story tomorrow and we’ll pay attention to the intriguing little details in the interplay between the two stories.

 

But today we will simply listen to a powerful story.

 

Anyone who has had the privilege of parenting a child knows that utterly helpless feeling that descends when their child gets sick or hurt.  Like every other parent, I’ve been there. 

 

I thought, when the kids were just little babies, that it would never get worse than that.  Holding feverish little bodies.  Using the rubber blue thing to clear out noses. One more trip to the emergency room or the doctor’s office.  I often thought about parents who didn’t have medicine, didn’t have doctors, didn’t have health insurance.  It isn’t a reach to think back in history and how much worse it would have been then when it wasn’t unusual at all to lose a child to what we would consider a relatively harmless illness.

 

Then they got older.  They reached the age of broken bones and motorcycle crashes and car accidents.  Then came the pain of broken relationships and broken hearts and inner struggles and I came to realize that parents never quit worrying about their children.

 

This morning, one of the people I prayed for is a little girl who was just diagnosed with leukemia.  She lives here with her mother and siblings while her dad serves our country in the Army in Germany.  I’m praying for the little girl and her family but also for her father to be able to cut through any red tape that would prevent him from being at his little girl’s side.

 

Jairus is named as a leader of the local synagogue. We don’t need to know anything else about him beyond seeing him fall at the feet of Jesus, begging him for help.  His 12 year old daughter is grievously ill.  Her sickness has become a public event, the mourners are already there ready to begin their wailing.

 

“Talitha cum!”  Two words from Jesus and she is better.  How would you react?  How DO you react?

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, we pray today along with all of those who are suffering with illnesses afflicting their children.  We pray for courage, patience, steadfast love and renewed hope in parents.  We pray for children who are too young to understand why they hurt.  We pray for medical workers who tend to them.  Be our Healer.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.