Today’s Lenten Lunch is at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church at 12 noon. The volunteer “caravaners” will be our guests.
Caleigh Calhoun will celebrate her birthday on Thursday Apr. 3rd. Have a great birthday! And next Wed. Apr. 9th, Herman and Jimmie Hitzfelder will celebrate their anniversary. Make it a good one!
Next Tuesday, Apr. 8, the Art UMW will join the Hilda UMW for their regular monthly meeting. They start at 9 a.m. and a lunch will be provided before they finish at 2 p.m.
We said goodbye to Jack and Lynn Sikora at lunch on Sunday. They left on Monday to return to their home and friends in Connecticut. We will really miss them and wish them a very safe trip home.
Ladies of Mason: It is time to start making cookies for the Kairos Prison visit after Easter. Start now; we need a great many dozen cookies.
Pray for those working on the Art Church ramp, Mason nursing home, and community jobs.
Vicki and Cliff have a new granddaughter – Charlotte, 8 lbs, 2oz, born on Mar. 24th.
Choir practice for Easter is on Apr. 9th.
You can support the nursing home effort by attending the City Council Meeting on Monday, April 14th, at 5.30 p.m. in the Eckert Community Center. We intend to ask the City Council to consider an item for the municipal election this fall. We will be proposing an Economic Development Corporation (EDC) on the ballot. We believe that an EDC might enable us to seek rural development grants to build the nursing home. There may be other additional ways to do this. Please pray for all those working on the nursing home effort, that God will be glorified. Pray this will unite our community to care for our beloved.
The Gospel scripture for the 4th Sunday of Lent was John 9:1-41, the account of “Jesus healing the blind man”.
Pastor Cliff titled his message “Here’s mud in your eye!” These are his words.
The questions of why do bad things happen to good people remain even today. Why do some people experience miracles, and get healed - maybe cured of cancer - and others don’t? We don’t know why some get cured and some don’t.
We do know that some folks don’t get cured, but they get healed. I love Dylan Harris. He has cerebral palsy. Jesus healed his heart but his palsy is not cured. And yet, he is one of the most joyous people I know.
When the folks saw Jesus heal the blind man, they just flat couldn’t “see it”. No person who had been born blind had ever been healed. It was mysterious then, and it is mysterious today. How we see the world and how God sees the world are two different things. Moving from darkness to light is seeing the world with a new set of glasses. One matter to consider on your journey is: “how will you choose to respond to someone being healed in a way you have never seen?” It was a great miracle. But because it happened on the Sabbath, they couldn’t accept it. The Scribes and Pharisees were considered leaders and “experts” with more “knowledge” than we have. It seems they may be more skeptical than we are. Maybe if we focus exclusively on knowledge, our vision gets narrow - maybe somewhat restricted.
Of course, we are Texans, and we do know the truth when we see it! Despite being Texans, when we see a miraculous healing that doesn’t follow our rules, well, we will all be tempted to “kick them out”. We still do this, just like the Pharisees did. When things don’t “fit” into our paradigm, or world view, or experience, or reasoning, we reject it. We reject “them.” Them includes, the outsider, the leper, the illegal, or the stranger. We don’t always know why bad things happen to good people. Some things are just inexplicable. There is mystery in our world.
If you want to help them, walk with them through their valley of the shadow of death, walk through the grief to the joy waiting. Walk with them and be with them. Don’t try and explain it. Psalm 23 does not say around the valley; It says “through” the valley. What about today? Could someone born blind, be healed today? In John 14: 12-13: Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.”
I once attended a church in a downtown shelter called Grand Avenue Temple. The Pastor told me it was a church for the homeless that were unable to get into any shelter, and unlikely to ever get off the street. Most people were long ago disconnected from family, from community, from synagogue or sanctuary. The pastor said his church was made up of homeless, and probably 95% of them had untreated mental illness. It was a “church of lepers.” So, I asked, can God reach these “lepers”? and the pastor said, well, you can decide for yourself. He said we open at 6 am Sunday, come and eat breakfast with us. He said: “look for a person holding a piece of twisted metal in his hand, eat with him, and ask him your question.” So, Sunday morning in the summer of 2008, downtown Kansas City, 6 am, I went to church at Grand Avenue Temple. I saw a group of medical students bandaging up folks in line. The doors were already open. I didn’t have to ask where breakfast was, I could smell it. I went to the basement, turned a corner, and there must have been 300 people eating breakfast. Almost every single one was holding a twisted piece of metal in one hand! I got my tray, a very bountiful meal, not what I was expecting…. and asked if I could sit with the guy I had picked out. After summoning up some courage, I asked “hey, what’s up with that piece of twisted metal? He scared me. He sort of shoved it in my face and asked: “See this? I picked this up off the streets last night. On Monday, somebody is not going to get a flat tire going to work. They don’t even know who I am. They are never going to thank me. That’s how God’s grace works. Pass the butter.”
In a flash, I was stunned and blessed. A leper explained God’s grace to me. I think he might have been a homeless mentally ill person, but he was not blind. I was blind, but now I could see. Jesus heals today.
Does this matter to you? I believe these are the words of God. I believe Jesus was sent to help get these words from “our head” to “our hearts.” God always makes the first move out of love. God invites us to love each other.
In John 14:12-17, Jesus said: ”I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” The greatest miracle Jesus ever performed is the healing of the human heart. What Jesus did for the person born blind Jesus will do for you. Jesus waits for you to ask.