By Pastor Suzanne Clemenz
Scripture: Luke 13:10-17
Our scripture for today tells us that the miracle that Jesus performed in healing the woman whose back was bent over for 18 years occurred on the Sabbath while he was preaching in the synagogue. Here was a woman, likely a faithful member of her community who could be found in church on any given Sabbath, suddenly and miraculously transformed in a way that was going to bless her for the rest of her life. I’m guessing that she was not expecting the events of that day to happen to her. In my imagination, she was probably toward the middle or back of the crowd, simply watching from a reasonable spot that didn’t call attention to herself. Unlike the person healed in other miracle stories in the Bible, she was not calling out to Jesus for mercy or reaching out to try to touch him. She didn’t have friends or family there trying to get Jesus’s attention on her behalf. She wasn’t trying to position herself to be seen; she may even have been like some of us who are uncomfortable when we get called out in a crowd. I don’t believe this woman was expecting to be on the receiving end of Jesus’s compassion in a way that was going to change the trajectory of her life. But that is exactly what happened.
By Associate Pastor, Suzanne Clemenz
Scripture: Isaiah 51: 1-6 and Matthew 16: 13-20
Some of you are aware that I’ve been in the middle of a notable life transition recently. My husband Brent and I helped our oldest son move into college last weekend. So it’s really his big life transition, but of course it feels like a big new step for us as parents, too. I must say that the enormousness of it is mitigated some by the fast that he’s attending Purdue, which is literally only about four miles or so from our house. So it’s not like he’s moved far away. But he’s aware, and we are aware, that this is a new chapter in his life. He’s largely on his own, with his own schedule to maintain, with time to pass in the way that he chooses. The rhythm of his life is going to be different. He’s going to lay his head down in a different place, make a whole new circle of friends, and spent a lot more time studying than he’s ever had to do in his life. (I’ve warned him!)
Moving away from home is a huge step. I know many of you remember this from experiences earlier in your life.
By Pastor Suzanne Clemenz
Scripture: Isaiah 43:1-19
While – thank goodness – we haven’t as a local community, or as a nation, hit rock bottom like God’s people in Judah had in Isaiah 43, (no enemy has invaded our land, destroyed our church, and banished us to a foreign place), my sense is that our current circumstances are precarious for a majority of us, and even dangerous and risky for some of us. COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on so many aspects of our lives. For a good number of us our livelihood is uncertain – reduced hours at work, lost wages, and I get frequent prayer requests from folks for whom the future of our their jobs is uncertain. The stress for many of us is real. Those of us who are essential workers are burning the candle at both ends and handling the mental and emotional strain of being on the front lines and witnessing the suffering that the virus is causing. Most of us are worried about what might happen if we or our loved ones become sick. There’s the anxiety of not knowing whether or not we might be an asymptomatic carrier ourselves at any moment, so we are having to sustain a state of vigilance of mask wearing, social distancing, and with the numbers rising at an alarming rate over the past week, we see no end in sight to this hyper-vigilant state we’re in. We find ourselves in a place of uncertainty and vulnerability that many of us have never experienced before.
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On a lifelong journey of seeking to live out God's call on my life and to reflect His grace.
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