Devotions from Tri-City ELCA Churches – Pastor Barbara Caine of Holy Redeemer, September 8, 2021

Devotion for September 8, 2021, from Pastor Barbara Caine of Holy Redeemer:

Is anyone else afraid to turn on the news?  There is a constant barrage of dire warnings of impending doom.  If it’s not a fire, it’s a hurricane.  If it’s not a hurricane, it’s a new  Covid setback.  If it’s not a new Covid setback, it’s a Taliban takeover.  If it’s not a Taliban takeover, it’s a recall, if it’s not a recall, it’s stalled in Congress, If it’s not stalled in Congress, it’s restricting someone’s rights.  It it’s not restricting someone’s rights…..  On and on and on it goes.
 
Sometimes fear is as close – or closer – than faith….

It happened to Peter, you know, and the other disciples, too, no doubt.  In Mark, Chapter 8, Jesus, like the local news, gave Peter and the others dire warnings about what terrible things were going to happen. Jesus was to undergo suffering, be rejected, and even killed.
 
No wonder Peter took Jesus aside and told him to cut it out – to turn off this terrible news.  In what must have been a terrible blow to Peter, Jesus says, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”Mark 8:33

Is that what Jesus would say to us now?  Are we focused not on divine things, but on human things?  Well, I know I am, and you may be too.  So – what happens now?  How do we center our attention on divine things while we still live in this world, still live in the maelstrom of such a difficult time?

One day, one moment, one fear, one prayer at a time…. 

No matter how and when fear strikes us, we are not alone, just as when we are overwhelmed with joy in the presence of others, we are not alone.  Each and every one of us who dons a mask and steps out of their house to face the world is being held in the palm of the hand of God.  And the same is true for those who stay home.  We are not alone.
 
It is my belief that those who are unaware of the reign of God are the most closely held by their creator.  I also believe that those of us who are aware of the reign of God have the gift of access to that peace that passes all understanding.  The more we can turn our fears, our prayers, our very lives over to the love of God, the more we can experience the reign of God one day, one moment, one fear, one prayer at a time.  And that makes it possible for faith to come closer than fear.

And where there is faith, we are called to be there for others.  And being there for others, is what changes us and changes the world.  Pray, care for others, and know that you are a gift from God to our world.

In Christ, Pastor Barbara

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