Weekly Devotion

RSS Feed

Wednesday Words August 15, 2018

Wednesday Words

August 15, 2018

Pr. Cathy Daharsh

We have been spending the whole summer reading through the books of 1 and 2 Samuel. David’s example shows us that it is possible to live out our faith during challenges in our lives. It’s not always easy, and it’s not always pretty. Like David, we stumble and fall along the way. We sin and fall short of where God calls us, but in spite of that, the grace of God allows us to pick up the pieces, move forward, and carry on.

I have not told a whole lot of people, but I was in an accident this summer and totaled my car. I am okay and the other driver is okay too. It was a scary moment. The accident was my fault, but from the minute I walked out of my car I experienced grace and forgiveness. I went over to the other driver, apologized and asked if he was okay. He kindly replied, “Accidents happen and I am doing fine.” His kindness and words were unexpected in the midst of worry and crumbled cars.

Then a woman came over and brought a bottle of water to me. I didn’t think of it until later of how the reminder of baptism was handed to me in her gift of water. The water refreshed my dry mouth and helped me to calm down.

After that, Bethany arrived to help me and assured me that everything was going to be alright. She was kind and caring when I was shaken up and she gave me strength when I was feeling out of sorts.

God’s grace came to me through the man’s words, the first responder’s water, and Bethany’s kindness. God’s grace helps us to pick up the pieces, move forward, and carry on. We will fall short and stumble along the way, but be assured that Christ will pick us up, dust us off, and encourages us to keep living our lives to their fullest. Amen.

Wednesday Words August 8, 2018

Wednesday Words

Aug. 8, 2018

Pastor Paul Cannon

NSFW Grace

We probably should have given you a little bit more warning. It occurred to me this week that we ought to have posted NSFW (a common internet abbreviation meaning ‘Not Safe For Work’) labels on your Bibles.

If you’ve been following the 1&2 Samuel readings this summer, you have read some things that you might find disturbing, eye opening, or just downright scandalous. Stories of murder, incest, war, and rape have been troubling the pages of our readings these past few weeks.

Why are these stories even in the Bible? Why can’t we just stick to the watered-down Sunday School versions of Noah’s Ark, David & Goliath, and Daniel & the Lion’s Den? Why does the Bible have to be so scandalous? Let me suggest that the answer to that question is that it makes God’s grace all the more scandalous.

Grace sounds like a really nice thing in the context of sins we might consider ‘small.’ God forgiving three-year-old Isaac for telling mom and dad a little fib? How adorable! But in the context of these large, far reaching, devastating sins like we find in 1&2 Samuel, we find ourselves asking “Do we really want God to forgive them for that?

In that context, grace is a scandal. Do you want God to forgive people who have murdered? Do you want God to forgive all those priests who sexually abused little boys? Do you want God to forgive human traffickers?

I don’t have the answers for that, but I do have one more question, which is “How big is the cross?” Is it big enough to carry the sins of the world? Is it big enough to carry the ‘big’ sins alongside the ‘small’ ones?

It’s truly not our place to judge (and thank God for that!). We are not in the business of telling people whether they are in or out (despite the claim of many churches to the contrary!). Rather, our job is one of dispensing grace.

This grace is often scandalous. This grace is never earned. You might even say this grace is NSFW.

Peace be yours this week!

Pastor Paul

Wednesday Words, August 1, 2018

Wednesday Word

Pr. Cathy Daharsh

August 1, 2018

Do you have a friend, family member, colleague or someone in your life that is a "truth teller" for you.  A "truth teller" is  person that will be honest with you when others may not, a person that cares so much about you that they are willing to hold up a mirror to you when you may not be going in quite the right direction.  

In this week’s Summer Read, the prophet Nathan is that person to David. David has gone astray and has made a poor choice with Bathsheba. Through a story about sheep, Nathan helps David to see his sin.

The last few weeks of the Summer Read have been harsh and difficult with war, adultery, violence and betrayal. To give a little break from the heaviness of the topic, I thought I would share a YouTube clip with you from the Veggie Tales: King George and the Rubber Ducky. It is a creative video that tackles a tough subject. In the video, the characters have different names, but the idea is the same.

Bible                           Video 

King David                 King George

Bathsheba                   Thomas’s Rubber Ducky

Uriah                           Thomas

Nathan                        Melvin

In the video King George, unlike most kings, spends most of his time in the bathtub, playing with his favorite toy - a rubber ducky. But George isn't satisfied with just his rubber ducky- he wants all the duckies. The king learns a lesson in humility from his brave soldier Thomas, whose ducky George had stolen. Here’s the video of Melvin revealing King George’s sin:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YTc3e-eaRI

May we have people like Nathan and Melvin in our lives that are willing to initiate hard discussions when we don’t understand that the choices we are making are hurtful to others. The Good News is that God works through people in our life to help, lead, and guide us. The even better news is that God’s love and forgiveness never runs out for us. Amen.

Wednesday Words, July 25, 2018

Wednesday Words

July 25, 2018

Ruth Ann Poppen, our Director of Worship and Music, has been teasing me about how I was going to tie in Christmas and the Bathsheba and David story this Sunday. Good question!

This Sunday we are celebrating Christmas in July. We will be singing Christmas songs and we will have a few decorations up too. We have been stewards of justice in July as we have been collecting gifts for Veterans’ Home, Husmann Elementary, Home of the Sparrow, and the Crystal Lake Food Pantry.  

Sunday will also include the reading from 2 Samuel 11. Our Summer Read this week has more war stories and we end with the not so shining moment of King David’s reign. David, like many of us, becomes complacent and comfortable in his lifestyle. He uses his power to get what he wants instead of doing God’s will. Here’s what happened:

In 2 Samuel 11, we find out that David takes a break from the war and stays back in Jerusalem. As he was kicking his feet back and relaxing while others were working hard and making sacrifices in the war, he takes someone else’s wife. They sleep together, and Bathsheba gets pregnant. Bathsheba is married to Uriah the Hittite, one of David’s generals. David tries to cover up his sin by having Uriah go home to his wife in hope that he would sleep with her. Uriah is loyal to his comrades and feels badly that the Israel Army is still camping and roughing it in the fields, so it feels wrong for him to go into his own house to sleep with wife. He sleeps outside, and David’s plan does not work. David, in his panic to cover up what he did, sends Uriah to the front line and Uriah gets killed. That’s where we end this week, “messy” to say the least.

Back to the question, how am I going to tie Christmas together with the Bathsheba and David story?

As the Bible tells us, “God so loved the world” and as we read in the Bible we see how we were clearly "not getting" how to care for the world, so God came into this world as a human being to show through his message and example how to care and live with one another.  We looked for a warrior and God sent us a baby. We looked for riches, and God gave us selflessness. We looked for a king, and God gave us a servant.

May we grow in the teachings of Jesus Christ and live in the light of his presence and example. Amen.

Wednesday Words, July 18, 2017

July 18, 2018

Pr. Cathy Daharsh

I confess that I enjoy watching HGTV, especially, the home makeover shows. I suppose I like to watch them even more because we are in a new house and are looking for new ideas. My problem is that I know when I like something but I don’t always know exactly how to put it all together. I appreciate the people who have that gift.

In this week’s Summer Read of 2 Samuel 7:1-29, we learn that there will be no “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” for God. Well, not yet. David feels a little awkward since he is living in a beautiful home made of fine cedar wood, but God’s Ark is just roughing it in a tent. David suggests to the prophet Nathan that maybe they should build a temple for God. But that night, God’s voice speaks to Nathan and tells him that God actually doesn’t have a problem with living in a tent. God reminds Nathan that a temple is not what he has asked for throughout the years. God tells Nathan to tell David that God is in David’s corner, protecting him, and helping him do everything he’s doing. God is blessing David. There will be a time when God will want a temple to be built, but this will happen after David is dead. One of David’s children’s will build the temple. David continues with words of gratitude for God. He is humbled by all that God has done, and hopes that people learn from God’s example. David ends his prayer by asking God for a blessing, so that his house will last forever.

May we all take time this week to thank God for what God has done for us and take time to see and enjoy the blessings in our lives, especially, in our homes. Amen.

Posts

.container { position: relative; width: 100%; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.25%; } .video { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }