Category: Meditations

Meditations – October 18, 2017

By Christopher Simon
JOY:  Jesus,Others,Yourself
“The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.”  ~ Proverbs 10:28 NIV
One of my fondest memories of my mother is receiving her handwritten notes, which always had a little doodle at the bottom of the page where she would write the word JOY in all capital letters, and then in small letters she would fill in Jesus, Others, and Yourself. In my younger and less spiritual days, I would sometimes poke fun at this pious addition to her letters, but in my mind my mother always exemplified the simple joy that comes from a true devotion to Jesus and others. My mother is one of those simple souls who really does love Jesus and tries to serve others, almost always putting others before herself. Her faith gives her a joyful presence that wouldn’t be possible without it. 
There is something to be learned from the fact that deeply spiritual people often have a deep and abiding joy. Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama are both exemplars of the joy that comes from a simple faith and the devotion to a life of serving others. 
Don’t forget to serve yourself though. You matter just as much as everyone else and God did not create any of us to be someone else’s doormat. 

Meditations – October 11, 2017

By Christopher Simon
Look for the Helpers
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  ~ James 1:27 NIV
Fred Rogers, the creator and host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, reported that his mother had once said that whenever something horrible happens, something tragic or catastrophic, to always look for the helpers. They may be on the sidelines, or even behind the scenes, but they will always be there, and this gives us reason for hope. 
No matter how many times we see these horrific terror attacks which kill innocent people, among them often children, we will see the helpers rushing to the scene to do whatever they can. 
Natural disasters are the same. People from around the world will offer their time and money, and often their very lives to help others, and this should give us hope for humanity. 
Despite our pettiness, our pugnacious tendencies and our downright depravity, most of us want to be decent human beings, and one way we can be decent and good is by helping our fellow human beings in need. 
You don’t have to look far for someone who needs your help. The next time you are tempted to write off humanity as vile and totally depraved, look for the helpers, and consider being one yourself.

Meditations – October 4, 2017

By Christopher Simon
Life Goes On 
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”   ~ Matthew 5:4 NIV
If you have lived long enough to experience the passing away of many of your friends and family, you realize that life goes on despite their deaths. There is something in us which feels compelled to stop everything to memorialize the passing of dear loved ones, and that is as it should be.
Someone who doesn’t take time out of his or her busy schedule to go to a funeral or otherwise honor someone’s passing will probably regret it later, and may need to think about his or her priorities. And yet life must go on.
We all have lives to live and responsibilities to meet and we can’t interrupt them indefinitely because someone has died. The crux is in balancing the mourning and grief with the responsibilities. Many things will go on without us being there. Your co-workers will handle things while you go to the funeral and take time to mourn, but eventually you will need to return to work. 
Some cultures make haste with the funeral and burial rites, requiring the body to be buried within 24 hours after death. There is undoubtedly wisdom in such practices, as it allows the mourners to get back to their lives quickly, but there is no single right answer for these things. 
Situations vary, and some people need more time to grieve than others. Stop the clocks, turn off the phone, and mourn, but realize that life does indeed go on.

Meditations – September 27, 2017

By Pastor Mike Ashman, Zion Lutheran Church – Jubilee
We moved here six months ago. Our cat has made the easiest transition; she declared this house her new home within hours of arrival.  She found her poop pan, she found her grandma’s bed, she found that Daddy and Grandma were staying. She was home.  
We human beings found it more difficult. We tripped over boxes and each other. We searched boxes for lost items, some we have never found. Just this past week, Mom out of nowhere declared that she is beginning to feel at home. On the other hand, I lived in the Upper Peninsula for ten years and never received “Yooper” status.
We as Christians have a long legacy to searching for home. We recount our ancestors in faith; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as wanderers in search of a homeland. God had promised Abraham a home, but when only when his beloved Sarah died did he ever own a piece of land, a burial cave.
How fitting is this narrative for our own journeys here? We travel through this life. We acquire property and all kinds of stuff. Though, we are reminded that all that we have is a gift from God. By the time we are prepared to leave, we have one possession – our own grave. But we are people of the promise. We are given the promise that the grave does not hold the final word; that belongs to God and it is a word of life. With a single word, God will finally call us home.

Meditations – September 20, 2017

By Pastor Mike Ashman  Zion Lutheran Church, Jubilee
As we sit in dust, we watch the South get pelted with storms. We see people clinging on for their lives.  Others starting to rebuild their lives from the ground on up. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to all. We need to recall that we are called on to be community.  As Christians, the vision of community runs deep and wide, maybe deeper and wider than some might wish.  In the prophet Isaiah, God’s calls us to look beyond ourselves, to be God’s hands and feet, and even mouth in this world.
I still remember one day when my Mom and Dad were trying out their “new” car.  Dad loved to take the back roads. On one of those back roads, a tire decided to go flat. Senior Citizens. No Cell Phone. Along came a gruff stranger on a motorcycle. Without a word, he retrieved the tools from the trunk of the car and fixed the flat. Refusing money, he gave my parents a nod and proceeded on his way.
May God open our eyes, offering us opportunities to share. God has truly blessed us – may we also bless one another.

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