Like a good spring cleaning, it’s a great time for spring self-caring.
Taking care of yourself isn’t being selfish, it’s actually the first step in giving your best care to others. A great example of this is demonstrated thousands of times a day. When boarding a flight, before take-off, the airline attendants will give instructions about exit doors, fastening seatbelts, and instructions of what to do if there is a loss of cabin pressure. In the case of loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from an overhead compartment. The instructions for adult passengers traveling with a younger child or children is to put the mask first on yourself and then assist the child. The oxygen mask represents taking care of yourself so that you can care for others.
This time of year creates opportunities to take care of yourself physically by getting outside; walking, riding a bike, working in the garden. Even better if you do with a partner or a group, which is also beneficial to our social well-being.
A spring clean up could also mean assessing eating habits of what we are putting into our bodies. The saying is so true “you are what you eat” especially as we get older. Let’s work on our holistic quality of life, physically, socially and spiritually. I’m here to assist you in becoming (being) your best self to serve God and others.
Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul (3 John 1:2).
Blessings, Pastor Michael
|A Love-Filled Victory
It’s tough to read about Jesus’ agony on the cross, where he felt “forsaken” by God (see Matthew 27:46). But as Philip Yancey explains in Where Is God When It Hurts? the Father didn’t desert Jesus — and doesn’t desert us:
“God was not ‘up there’ watching the tragic events conspire ‘down here.’ God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself,” he writes. “If Jesus was a mere man, his death would prove God’s cruelty; the fact that he was God’s Son proves instead that God fully identifies with suffering humanity. On the cross, God himself absorbed the awful pain of this world.
“To some, the image of a pale body glimmering on a dark night whispers of defeat,” Yancey continues. “But another sound can be heard: the shout of a God crying out to human beings, ‘I LOVE YOU.’ Love was compressed for all history in that lonely figure on the cross, who said that he could call down angels at any moment on a rescue mission, but chose not to — because of us.”
He concludes: “Any discussion of how pain and suffering fit into God’s scheme ultimately leads back to the cross.”
Why Friday is Good
To participate in the sacrificial life and death of Jesus Christ is to live already in his kingdom. This is the essence of the Christian message, the heart of the Good News, and it is why the cross has become the chief Christian symbol.
A cross of all things — a guillotine, a gallows — but the cross at the same time as the crossroads of eternity and time, as the place where such a mighty heart was broken that the healing power of God himself could flow through it into a sick and broken world. It was for this reason that of all the possible words they could have used to describe the day of his death, the word they settled on was “good.” Good Friday. —Frederick Buechner
Why Christ calls us to worship
Easter services are usually well attended, but what about other weeks? What draws you to worship on an “average” Sunday, and what might Jesus have in store for people in the pews?
Consider this from Pastor Charles Aaron: “Did we come to church this morning thinking it was a safe thing to do? Did we come with some expectation of receiving a blessing, a bit of comfort, but no real challenge? Did we think about the possibility that encountering Jesus would rearrange our lives, explode our priorities, cause us to give more than we ever expected? Did we think we could get a little something from Jesus, a dose of grace to help us through the week? Did we come for the fellowship, the music, the spiritual boost? No one can argue with those reasons.”
He continues: “The risen Christ, however, may have had other plans for this worship service. Christ may want to come under our skins and transform us. Christ may see through us so that something we have well hidden comes to the surface. Christ may kick out from under us the things we use to prop ourselves up but that we don’t really need. Are we ready for that? Did we bargain on that when we walked through the door today?” —from The Wired Word
Gratitude, All Year Long
It’s not Thanksgiving time. But what if we made a point to practice gratitude all year long?
In her book Grateful, theologian Diana Butler Bass writes: “As human beings, we possess an intuitive awareness that we depend on others to survive. We are safer and happier when we care for each other in community, when we do things for each other. … … How we live together in and with gratitude makes all the difference in the world. Indeed, living gratefully makes the world different.”
“Christ did not come into the world that we might understand him, but that we might cling to him, that we might simply let ourselves be swept away by him into the immense event of the resurrection.” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“Lent is spring training. Easter is opening day!” —seen on a church sign