~ This Friday we're going to begin the final cleaning across the street beginning at 9:00 a.m.
~ Paula shared that she brought the handmade blanket to the Lighthouse this week.
Chuck and Darlene were back from their trip to the Smoky Mountains in the heart of the Bible Belt. While on their vacation he shared that they went to the Creation Museum, and saw how at the heart of our faith is trust. The trio then sang Worthy of Worship, inviting us to stand and join them on the second and third verses. Brad asked God to bless our tie together and the trio then sang another lovely classic, "Yes I Know."
Today we sang from the silver songbook.
During the offering the trio led us in an upbeat "Heaven On My Mind." Afterward we shared some of our prayer needs and blessings, including Leonard's announcement that he is going to be a grandpa.
Brad began by saying he wanted to tell "mom" stories and spent time this week trying to find a suitable representation of the sacrifices mothers make, because being a mother means making sacrifices. Ultimately found himself looking to the story of Mary.
Mary's story begins with an angel coming to her to tell her she will be with child and despite the issues this will cause she says yes. This kind of event would have a bad outcome normally. She was engaged to a man, but made pregnant not by this man. The usual outcome would have been stoning. She did not know what the end of the story would be, but she accepted this fate and trusted the messenger of God.
The next scene Brad shared is found in Luke 2:43ff. This is the story of the boy Jesus getting separated from His parents when they had gone to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. On the third day they find Him back at the Temple with the teachers of the Law. Mary and Joseph were real parents, and had the anxiety of real parents who lost their child.
When they find Him, these are the first words recorded that came from the mouth of Jesus. “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
This experience must have caused pain and confusion for Mary. There was going to be a distance between her and her son.
The next story is the wedding at Cana. As John 2 tells it, Mary comes to Jesus because they have run out of wine. But His reply is surprising. “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replies. “My hour has not yet come.”
She turns to the servants and instructs them to do what He says, but again there's a gap between her and her son.
Some of what Jesus did must have made no sense to Mary at all. The Messiah was supposed to cleanse Israel of sinners, but He was a friend of sinners. Messiah would liberate Israel from Rome, yet he healed the son of a Centurian.
On one occasion, Jesus was teaching in a crowded place and his brothers and Mary were outside. He was told this, and He replied, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?"
Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:35)
It's a profound thing that we are all invited to be an intimate part of the family of God.
On another occasion a woman cried out, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you!"
He replies, "Blessed, rather, are those who hear the word of God and obey it."
How do you think Mary responded to Jesus' teaching when He made statements like this?
51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Luke 12:51-53
And yet, she believed. She trusted her God. Mary was the only person who was there at the beginning, at the manger, and at the cross at the end. She knew depths of pain that we can only imagine as she watched her son dying a brutal death. Yet when she stood there looking up at Him, He said "Here is your son," referring to John. She was not abandoned. In the family of God no one is left alone. We are all taken care of in God's family. And to John He said, "Here is your mother."
Mary went from being the Mother of Jesus to being a follower of Jesus, something greater... with an invitation for all in the great plan of God for each of us to be part of His family.
After the message we celebrated the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.