Pastor John's Daily Briefing-8/25 and 8/25/2020

Pastor John's Daily Briefing-8/25 and 8/25/2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,


The world we find ourselves in is a world of God's presence in the risen Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but it is also a world filled with turmoil and angst. It is a world of God's creation, a creation of love and abundance, a creation to be filled with awe and wonder and hope. But it is also a world filled with the presence of human hate and violence. One should seriously ponder how God feels about all the human activity in today's world that runs contrary to the way of life that God has shown and continues to show in and throughChrist Jesus our Lord. To be sure, God weeps.


In John 17, we readers witness a deeply emotional prayer of Jesus to his Father, a prayer of thanksgiving and hope, a prayer that reveals God's eternal intention for the world he created and the hope that we humans will engage in a relationship with one another that is strikingly alike the relationship that Jesus has with the Father. 


Jesus relates how he has revealed God's Word to the world in all that he has said and done, a life of truth and obedient witness to the Father, to God's eternal will (17:6-8). Jesus then moves to petition, seeking protection for us as he returns to the Father and that we will become "one" as the Son and the Father are one (17:11). Jesus understands that the joy of life is to be expressed in our human unity (17:13), a joy that reaches into the heavens. 


Jesus is fully aware of the presence of evil in our world and prays that we will be protected from the influence and scourge of evil that will adversely affect our relationship with God and with each other (17:15). Jesus prays that we will become sanctified in the truth of God, a sanctity that reflects God's eternal love and our expressed witness to that love (17:17-18). 


Jesus prays for the unity of those who already believe as well as those who will come to believe (17:20-21), a prayer that reflects Jesus' hope in and for us as we continue to share God's good news in Christ, a future to be filled with the hope that as the Father and the Son are one, so too shall we be one: "As you Father are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me... I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them e3ven as you have loved me" (17: 21, 23). Only in, through, and by God's love will evil be defeated, and the hate will come to a stop. May our thoughts and actions bear witness to Jesus' prayer and God's hope for us in Christ.


Blessings and peace!  Pastor John


August 26th:

To all the saints in Christ Jesus,


It has been said that the world in which we live is broken in so many ways for humanity has moved and continues to move in the ways of idolatry, hubris, deception, and faithlessness; in many ways humanity has sought and continues to seek to live from its own desires and wants apart from God's wisdom and guidance. The writer of Psalm 107 addresses these very issues and presents  the steadfast love of God that brings restoration and hope to those who have wandered away from the faith, to the broken and the despairing, to the sick and the disenfranchised. For in and with God, there is always hope, a way out of brokenness.


Psalm 107 begins with a call of thanksgiving: "O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, those he redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south" (107:1-3). No matter where we are and what troubles we may face, God will find us; God will hear the cries of his people and respond with care and healing.


To those who wander in desert wastes, to the hungry and thirsty and faint of heart, God hears their cries and delivers from distress (107:4-6). God's work of wonder "satisfies the thirsty and the hungry he fills with good things" (107:9). To those confined to darkness, to those in misery, and even to those who have rebelled against the counsel of God, God hears also their cries and brings deliverance, bringing them out of darkness and breaking the bonds of oppression (107:10-14). God's work of wonder saves and restores to wholeness and holiness.


To those afflicted because of iniquity, to those who seek to satisfy their appetites apart from God, to those whose sin casts a spell of gloom and decay, even from their cries, God brings healing and relief (107:17-19). To those who shrink from courage and faith in times of danger and distress, to those who falter in stormy times, to those who stagger and lose their footing, to those who are at their wit's end, God hears their cries and brings about deliverance and hope (107:26-28). God's work of wonder "made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed" (107:29).


Amidst the bleakness of a world weary of trouble and hurt, God "turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water. And there he lets the hungry live" (107:35-36). God "raises up the needy out of distress" (107:41).


As we face each and every day, even in the presence of discord and distress, may we follow the counsel of the Psalmist: "Let those who are wise give heed to these things, and consider the steadfast love of the LORD" (107:43).


Stay safe and find yourselves in God's peace!   Pastor John