I'm eschewing the RCL this month and instead, diving into the scriptures about Mary in Luke. And, of course, I had to start with images.
The relationship between Jesus and his mother, Mary, has long fascinated me. As a mother of many children, I'm so moved by how completely Mary gave of herself to this ministry of raising the Son of God. Traditionally, Protestants haven't spent much time imagining Jesus' gestation, infancy, and childhood. I'm thankful for witness of our Roman Catholic friends in this regard. What a wonderfully special woman Mary was. Momma of God. Goodness.
I created a mandala and coloring page available for any congregation or individual who makes a donation to Week of Compassion. Read more here.
Samuel heard from the Lord as a child in the care of Eli who was a failed priest, by all accounts, but was also in a position of power and privilege with the added gravitas of longevity and familiarity with the people he served. The word Samuel received held devastating news for Eli. Yet Eli listened and accepted the word from the Lord, even though it was from an untested, untried, novice who had not heard from God before.
To whom do we listen? We have a tendency to seek out voices in power, especially those whom we've heard before. But what are we hearing from the small, unlikely, perhaps untrained margins? Is there a word for us from these unexpected voices?
I've been creating bulletin art for our Epiphany series, A New Thing. This series is focused around the truth that God's creative impulses are imprinted on humanity. Because God invested those gifts in us, God asks us to partner in the work of creation towards a new heaven and a new Earth where all know of their belovedness and justice reigns.
Each week of the series examines the RCL Old Testament readings for specific ideas and actions that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, "create" alongside our Creator and Redeemer. The Sundays are:
A New Thing: God Creates, God's People Create
A New Thing: A Listening People Create
A New Thing: A Connected People Create
A New Thing: A Prophetic People Create
A New Thing: A Humble People Create
A New Thing: A Hopeful People Create
Recently I was doing some self-evaluation and decided to assign myself a grade in several different areas of my life. I gave myself an A+ in one area, a B+ in another area, a C- in one area and a solid D- in another.
There was a time in my life that anything other than an A would have been a cause for a lot of negative self-talk and thoughts. But thanks to some work I’ve done, I looked at these grades with a different perspective.
I’m doing amazingly well at one area in my life! In the second area, where I’m getting a B+, I consider it a big success. There’s room to improve which I’m doing.
But here’s where the big change is for me— in the areas where I have given myself a C- and a D-, I realized I just don’t have a desire or need to get an A, or even a B, in these areas! If I bring that C- up to a solid C and that D- to a C-, I’ll be thrilled!
The truth is that my expectation is the determining factor of my satisfaction. Realizing what is important and what isn’t, and also the point at which I will feel satisfied, is incredibly freeing.
What *really* matters to you? What deserves your energy? What’s your priority right now? What grade do you want to be able to assign yourself in the next month…the next six months…the next year? What metric will satisfy your expectations?
I'm working on becoming a certified Coach through Coach Approach Ministries. A Coach helps ask evaluative questions that only YOU can answer. I can help you equip yourself to make your answers a reality. Contact me today about getting started.