Image and Reflection by Pastor Tracey Leslie, Trinity United Methodist Church
In 2019 I had a Lilly sabbatical. One of my experiences was a five-day stay at Gethsemani Abbey, a Trappist Monastery in Kentucky. Gethsemani was Thomas Merton’s Abbey. As a South Central Pennsylvania native, I couldn’t wait to hike in the area around the monastery. I love to hike and Kentucky’s topography is like my native area… which I affectionately refer to as Pennsyl-tucky!
By Bob Lilly, Trinity United Methodist Church
I have not knowingly seen Jesus nor have I seen God. So how is it possible for me to see, know, and experience God through Jesus?
But I can. I know Jesus through what I have been taught and what I have thought. God and Jesus are but two of three. Jesus gave me a helper, a friend (John14:17) that stays with me, within me. A friend that I have conversations with about life’s truths. He has opened my eyes to truths that I have thought about and believe for without thought you can’t have a belief. This friend knows of my pains, my joys, my thoughts, hopes and prayers as well as I do. My friend has helped lead me down many trails. He told me that I can’t hit the person that I had pinned to the ground (at age 12). I should let him up. And, when playing the game of life, truth always trumps friendship. But the most important truth that my friend has led me to see is the spirit and vision of Jesus and, in doing this, he has shown me God.
By Melissa Kramer, Trinity United Methodist Church
This week’s Scripture reminds us that to see Jesus, is to see and to know God.
One of my favorite stories of Jesus is when he calms the storm. I happen to enjoy Mark’s telling of the story the best. It can be found in Mark 4:35-41. To summarize, while Jesus and the disciples are on a boat, a storm comes that threatens their safety. The disciples start to worry and panic and they call Jesus to save them. Jesus gets up and commands the wind and waves to be still and everything becomes calm. As a child, and still as an adult, storms and bad weather frighten me. As a child, I was afraid of storms, especially loud, booming thunder and heavy winds. As an adult, storms cause me to worry and stress about the things I cannot control. I worry about the weather, but there are other “storms” in my life that leave me calling out for Jesus to help. The story of Jesus calming the storm reminds me that God can help calm the metaphorical storms in my life. As Mark reminds us, “even the wind and the waves obey him.” In the same way that Jesus calmed the wind and waves, I can ask God to bring peace to the areas of my life that feel out of control and overwhelming. When the water is crashing down, I know that God is more powerful than my fear.
The title of our Lenten series is What Do You See? When I see Jesus, I see a God who brings peace. I see a God who calms my anxiety. I see a God who keeps me safe.
A Prayer for Week 6
By Pastor Jake Ohlemiller, Grace United Methodist Church
Oh, dear God, dear gracious Light, how we are aching to see Your glory! How acclimated we are, with the eyes of our poor hearts, to squinting and straining for security in our dim-lit dungeons of subtle despair. Light our path to life and liberty, to beloved community, to belief. Shine in our murky abyss of scornful memes and slanted stories, and let us see blazing Truth in the clarity of Love. Shine in our overcast arena of partisan combat, where shadows slash and straw men stab, and let us see real possibilities of peace among neighbors--Dear Christ, God-made-flesh, illumine us, Be seen!
Image by Pastor Tracey Leslie, Trinity United Methodist Church
By Kristin Bisciglia, Grace United Methodist Church
I sometimes wonder whether I walk around blind or guilty; I think it's a bit of both. I walk around guilty when I know what I am called to do and how to act, and yet I ignore it. When I'm tired or cranky, I don't wish to see what is in front of me. I walk around blind when I haven't spent time with God and I temporarily lose the ability to see where God wants me to be and to see people the way He sees them. This story reminds me that I have chosen to be a follower of the One who gives sight, but I have to choose to see so that I may continue to walk with God. Walking with God means that I may have to see things in myself I don’t want to admit to, but I do because I know I am not alone. God is with me. He loves me.
By Catherine Gray, Trinity United Methodist Church
Pastor Tracey’s question is “How do we witness to the good work of God in our lives?” While I know that Biblical scholars have been offering suggestions to this question for a really long time now, I think my answer depends on how I understand the question. Am I witnessing to the good work that God does in my own life, or am I recognizing the good work of God in the lives of others?
By Dinah Dalder, Trinity United Methodist Church
A few years ago, one of our vehicles needed to be in the repair shop for several days. It is always hard to adjust family routines when suddenly without wheels, so we were happy to get the news that our car was fixed and ready to be picked up. After evaluating several options, my husband and I decided that it made the most sense for me to take the bus from work to get the car. The route was really easy - the bus stop was across the street from my office on campus. I could make one transfer downtown and then get dropped off close to the repair shop. When I got on the bus downtown, I passed by a man who seemed vaguely familiar as I proceeded to the seat I picked out. I could not think who that man was and occasionally our eyes would “catch” like we were both trying to figure out how we knew each other. As the bus travelled along for a while, the man turned around, looking at me, and loudly exclaimed, “I know you! YOU ARE THE CHURCH LADY!” Everyone on the bus turned their heads to look at who was on the bus while I had visions of The Church Lady from Saturday Night Live! When the two of us got off the bus, the man thanked me for being at the community meal, which was held every Sunday at Trinity, and thanked our church for the help he received over the years. He saw me as a person, but I think he was really seeing God’s love.
By Allegra Smith, Trinity United Methodist Church
“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on his face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it.
A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” – Roald Dahl
A Prayer for Week 5, by Pastor Rachel Metheny, Congress St. United Methodist Church
Holy God, open our eyes so that we may see your abundance in the world. Help us to see how you are already at work in the world, shining your light through all people. May we find ways to join others in this holy work, each sharing our gifts and passions to create more joy and love in our
Image by Lisa Drake, Trinity United Methodist Church
By Marti Van Cleef, Grace United Methodist Church
“But I have stilled and quieted my soul.” Psalm 131:2a
I am not a patient person. I am a person who takes control of things and plans and moves forward. My brain is full of clamor and busyness. I have lived a very secular life, not necessarily an unspiritual life nor a life without faith, but a non-organized religion life. Asking God is not a place I consciously “go to.” So hearing the voice of God’s guidance does not come easily. And yet I have experienced His voice. At various times in my life, I have looked into Buddhism, Shamanism, Judaism, Spiritualism – searching, I think, consciously or unconsciously for a way to hear the voice of God.