Grace falls like seed – An offering from Shawn Ashmore

February 28, 2018
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Mark 4:3-9 (NRSV)

“Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” And he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”

 

Grace falls like seed,
Scattered across terrain—

Some on wide roads,
Some between piles of gravel,
Some amongst thistle and thorn,
Some under sun-scorched beams,
Some with little to sprout,
And some in fertile earth.

How easy it is to be deceived,

More preoccupied about the quality of ground
Than the generous hands that cast life,
Drawing from a seed bag that never runs empty.

(c) 2018 Shawn Ashmore

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An offering from Kathy: The Communion of Saints

April 1, 2015
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Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,c5
I have a large network of spiritual parents.  For 21 years, they have helped me to “rid myself of every burden” through listening, prayer and by sharing my burdens with me.  They have convicted me to “root out the sin in my life that clings to me”, and they have always encouraged me to persevere, even during the darkest of nights.
It is now my privilege to serve them as they deal with the struggles of aging.  Three have died this past year.  My “cloud of witnesses”  are not passive as I once perceived them to be.  They continue to be actively involved in my journey.  Their wisdom still resonates in my spirit and comes to mind when I need it most.  My memory still bears witness to their powerful, faith-filled lives.  I discern their intercession, love, encouragement and shepherding just as much as I did when they were here on the earth.  I am grateful that the Lord has seen fit that we never need be with those who go before us.
(c) 2015 Kathy Oehler
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An offering from Diana: An Anointing of Love

March 30, 2015
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John 12: 1-11

We are now entering the week commemorating the most significant event in world history: Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus had tried in so many ways to tell people who he was, plainly and in metaphor, yet not even his closest disciples had understood. In these verses we find someone who did understand. Mary, in an act of bold, extravagant worship, anointed the feet of Jesus with a perfume of the essence of spikenard, worth 300 denari, nearly a year’s wages. It was not only worship, but also an act of great love for Jesus, as in humility she bowed to anoint his feet and wipe them with her hair.Marys_Anointing_of_Jesus

Mary’s act was such a contrast to that of Judas in this scene. Greedy Judas, always thinking of money and power, who would soon betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

Mary will always be remembered for her act of love and Judas for his act of pure greed. The eyes of Judas were always on the world, but Mary kept her eyes on Jesus, often sitting at his feet.

It is also interesting to note that the text tells us that the fragrance of the perfume filled the house. Money and power and striving are not how we truly make a difference in the world. Lasting influence comes through love, the kind that is found in Jesus and through Jesus, a love that we find here in Mary’s beautiful gesture.

(c) 2015 Diana Beaudry

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An offering from Beverly: Who does He say He is?

March 29, 2015
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Mark 11:1-11

“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David. Hosanna in the highest!”jesus-mafa-palm-sunday

Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on a donkey fulfilled the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. “Hosanna” means to save now. But, save from what? His disciples, His followers, the Pharisees, the bystanders who had come to Jerusalem for Passover…all had different ideas of who Jesus really was. Many expected Him to be their new king, to save them from Roman rule and bring peace.  Most Pharisees saw Him as rule breaker and disrupter. Peter called Him Messiah. Many knew Him as Healer, who set them free from bondage and disease, and many witnessed His miracles.

Still, all had limited understanding of Jesus, yet in less than a week He would be crucified. His resurrection revealed the whole truth to many. With Scripture, we see more clearly the meaning of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Yet, do we?  Who is Jesus to you and me, in the deepest places of our heart? Who does He say He is?

(c) 2015 Beverly Middleton

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