Readings and Reflections for Wednesday 9 January 2019: Epiphany

Daily Office Readings 

Psalm 121 : 1
” I lift up my eyes to the hills; * from where is my help to come?”

Psalm 121 is the psalm we use in Women’s Bible Study every Tuesday.  We use the Service of Noon Day Prayers from our Book of Common Prayer to start our study.  Currently we are studying the Apocrypha. 

This Psalm is dear to me because every time it comes up in any church service I remember the wonderful women sitting around the table as they learn for themselves (and teach me) about what God has done, and is doing.  Over the last thirteen years we have come a long way. Not just through the scriptures, but also in our bonding and relationship.

So in my personal studies or any occasion when this psalm is read it brings sweet memories to me. We all should have some piece of scripture that causes us to reflect on the goodness that God is doing in our midst.

The words of the opening of this psalm invites us to know that our help in the world must come from a Source beyond ourselves. We often can’t fix our selves, and it is very okay to look out over the horizons in your life, over the landscape of your troubles and say “I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come?”  Because the Psalmist goes on to say, “My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”

Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.

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From the Gospel of John

“One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’” (John 5: 5 – 6)

What a question to ask.    Does he want to be made well?  The obvious answer would be, “of course.”   But I have met many people who have grown comfortable with their discomfort. Many are struggling with addiction but often are not ready to do the work necessary for being clean.  It’s hard work and one has to be really committed to recovery and all the steps that come with it.

Some of my friends have physical disabilities that, with rehab, can achieve some degree of improvement.  Sometimes when I visit them in Rehab or in their homes there is much lamentation regarding physical therapist. “It’s too hard” or “it hurts” they cry.  It is at those times that I want to use Jesus’ words, “Do you want to be made well?”

Being well applies to more than just the observable sick. I have a very dear friend in Alabama who suffers from severe migraine headaches.  You can’t tell from looking at her that she is suffering horrible pain. It doesn’t show.  I also feel like our church’s next big challenge is that of fully including those who are psychologically disadvantaged or mentally ill.  They truly can be in a situation where they don’t know if they want to be made well.  But if we love them we want them to be made well.  We have many stories in the Gospel where Jesus healed on behalf of others who loved them, and from a distance.  The truth is, being made well has to be wanted and asked for either by the person, or by someone on his or her behalf.  Then Jesus does his work.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.

Wednesday night Healing Service

JULIA CHESTER EMERY,

LAY LEADER AND MISSIONARY (9 JAN 1922)

Psalm 67;Romans 12:6-13 Mark 10:42-45 

From Romans

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.” (Rom. 12: 12, 13)

Julia Emery certainly heard the message of St Paul to the Romans. She certainly persevered in prayer and contributing to the needs of the needy.  We need more like her. She did more than just see the need, she felt the need. And then she did something about it.

Julia’s sister, Mary, was National Secretary of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Board of Missions for its first four years, from 1872 to 1876.  At this point, Julia took over, and was National Secretary of the Auxiliary for forty years, from 1876 to 1916. (James Keifer)

She visited every diocese in the United States (James Keifer).  Asking for money is not exactly my strong suit.  I admire her tenacity that took her across the country and the world.  She recognized her call to do what others dared to do for the sake of those who were in great need 

It was Julia who invented the United Thank Offering (UTO). This works (or used to work — my political instincts tell me that not everyone today would be comfortable with the original arrangement) by giving each woman a small box with a slit in the top (a cardboard piggy bank), and encouraging her to drop a small contribution into it whenever she feels thankful about something.    (James Keifer) 

I love those little blue boxes.  Sometimes they show up at our Diocesan Convention.  The Bishop has no objection to the “folding” kind of money going into those boxes. Let’s give God thanks for her dedicated work in fighting poverty.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people..


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