where can i buy prednisone for my cat Aug. 25, 2019

Jer. 1:4-10

Luke 13:10-17

 

  1. To my surprise, the grits were a popular choice at Thursday night’s Feel the Warmth Community Supper with Nourish Bridgeport.
    1. Ed, the guy I sat with at dinner told me that he was something of an expert on grits. He makes them every morning for the homebound woman he cares for, and he’s got the recipe down so that it’s her favorite part of the meal.
    2. Ed used to be the manager of a manufacturing plant that started in Stamford and moved to Bridgeport. He was there for 20 years until it closed down, which no doubt contributed to the circumstances that brought him to dinner at FTW.
    3. I don’t know the other reasons. Maybe I’ll learn a bit more next time.  What I do know is that Ed was a pretty articulate and thoughtful guy, who definitely approved of the grits.
    4. Ed also made it a point to thank me for coming down. He said, “I assume you have a busy schedule with a full time job and a family with stuff to do.  It means a lot that you take the time to be here.”
      1. Now, I don’t say this to pat myself on the back or to pat our church on the back. I say it because Ed wasn’t the only one to express his appreciation.
      2. And I say it because it gets to the point that its not just the food that matters. The food is important, so is the time, so is the caring, so are the relationships that are built as we break bread together.
    5. That’s what makes FTW a special experience.
      1. We don’t just come and serve and stay on opposite sides of the serving station.
      2. We welcome, and we eat together, and we do our best to connect as people united in our common humanity.
  • That, I believe, is where the power is and where the ministry is. That’s how whole souls are fed.
  1. I put a painting in your bulletins today. It is by Barbara Schwartz and it is called, “Jesus and the Bent Over Woman.”[1]
    1. It’s a depiction of today’s gospel story where Jesus is teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath – a day of rest – when a crippled woman enters presumably to hear the lesson, but instead becomes the lesson.
    2. Despite the objections of some, he declares to the woman that she is free of her ailment, and she stands up straight and she praises God.
    3. Take a moment with the painting and tell me what you see.
      1. What stands out to you or speaks to you?
      2. What do you notice about what the artist has painted and what she hasn’t painted?
    4. What stands out to me is the composition: how the painting is made of rainbow shaped layers of colors and how the woman’s back is bent along the same arc as the rainbow.
    5. And then there’s Jesus. Notice how they look directly into one another’s eyes.  She sees him and he sees her.  Notice how, though not crippled, his back is bent too, just the way hers is, as if to say that the healing is rooted in Christ’s ability to meet her where she is, identify with her pain, and be there with her in it.
    6. Of course, this is an expression of the artist’s reflection on the story. It’s not actually in this particular gospel story, but I would argue that it essentially is the gospel story.
      1. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the story of God, eternal and infinite, so in love with God’s children as to become one of them and one with them.
      2. It is the story of a God who radically and intimately identifies with God’s people, and this is where the power of it all lies.
  • This is how we learn who we are. It’s how we know that life is sacred.  It’s how we know that all other identifiers – our successes and our failures, sickness and health, gains and losses – are subordinate to the truer message that before we are anything we are God’s, we are claimed, and known, forgiven, cherished, and called into God’s beauty and work in the world.
  • In Jeremaiah we read: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.”
    1. This is the beginning of Jeremiah’s call, and when he realizes what’s gong on he tries to back out. “I’m only a boy.  Pick somebody else.”
    2. But, God assures him that God will provide. “I’ve consecrated you.  I’ve put my words upon your lips.  Don’t worry, you’ll do just fine.”
    3. Though it’s a predictable move, what I want to say is that we too have been called, if not to prophecy certainly to ministry.
      1. God forms us and knows us too.
      2. God consecrates us at baptism and puts God’s words upon our lips at Communion.
  • God equips us with God’s very Spirit so that we have the grace needed to show and share the healing love of God in this world.
  1. Maybe the less predictable move here, or the one I feel the need to make, is the how.
  1. I’ll give another illustration.
    1. The woman who taught my pastoral counseling course got her start as a child.
    2. Her mother, though not professionally trained in any way, was a woman of great faith and compassion. She often hosted at their home a young girl who was severely disabled.  The girl’s inability to communicate her desires or her feelings left her frequently frustrated and angry.  She would throw herself to the floor in fits of sadness and rage while the others sat nearby unable to help.
    3. One day my teacher came home to find her mother on the floor raging along side the frustrated child. As the woman echoed the child’s strange sounds and mirrored her movements right there beside her, the girl’s fit came to a stop.  She reached her hand to the woman, sat her up, and then crawled into her lap.  From then on things were a little different.  Communication was still difficult.  But there was a closeness, a relationship.  Someone had taken the time to meet her where she was, to speak her language, to feel her frustration.  Being with her, really being with her, was what mattered the most.
  2. Our church is rooted in the notion that we are all priests: We call it “the priesthood of all believers.”
    1. Henri Nouwen defines priesthood as nothing more than “a compassionate being-with.”
    2. “A compassionate being with”: this is how God works, and this is how God works through us.
    3. May we have the faith, the hope, the courage, and the love to bend to one another, to bend to the other, and to find life in what God will do.

[1] https://www.globalsistersreport.org/column/speaking-god/spirituality/jesus-and-women-you-are-set-free-1186