Real Change.

The Good Word for Sunday March 13 ~ for the complete readings click here. 

Change. Nobody likes it. Okay, I guess some people like it, but once people get comfortable it is hard to change. My dad has had the same haircut for 50+ years. It’s kind of like behavioral inertia. Once we stop moving or once we get moving it’s hard to start or stop.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of books have been written about change. Some explain how we change. Others give steps for organizational change. Still other books are all about how to avoid change.

Even when something is really bad for us, it is hard to stop doing it. Even when something is really good for us, it is hard to start (and keep going). In Lent some of us have given up something or added a new behavior. I bet most of us will fall right back into our old ways after Lent is over no matter how good our Lenten promise has been for us.

That’s why the readings today are so amazing. The first reading references the Exodus out of the slavery of Egypt and into the promised land. But the reading is from Isaiah who is writing many, many years later during the time of the Babylonian exile, when the people of Israel were conquered and moved hundred of miles to Babylon. The people had been freed from the slavery of Egypt, but had fallen away from God and ended right back in slavery to a different master. Change is hard.

In the gospel, the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus to catch him disagreeing with the law of Moses. Instead, Jesus does some extraordinary; Jesus shows mercy.

He not only shows mercy to the woman, but he using the moment to teach those gathered about who is need of mercy. Who is a sinner? Everyone. Who needs God’s mercy? Everyone. Who needs to change? Everyone.

The thing is when Jesus turns to the woman and tells her to go and sin no more, he is really talking to everyone. When one is shown mercy, the appropriate response is to change. When mercy is given, the one receiving mercy gets a do-over. Wouldn’t it be crazy if someone got a do-over and then did the exact same thing again?

We get a do-over every time God shows us mercy. We get another chance to be better, to do good and avoid evil. We get the chance to change.

If you had a second chance to live your life again, how would you choose to live differently? Do that.

Live it:
With just two weeks left of Lent, make a plan to make a change following Lent. If you gave up something consider what it might mean to continue to abstain in some way. If you added prayer, think about how you may continue that practice.

The Good Word for June 28th

note-4For the complete Sunday readings click here.

Have you ever been asked, “If there was one thing you could change about yourself what would it be?” Every now and again, I get thinking about this question. The funny thing about it is that 90% of the time the thing I would change is totally changeable if I was willing to do the work. It’s like if I just made a plan and then followed through on those action items, I wouldn’t procrastinate writing this blog each week (but I digress).

In the gospel this weekend we hear about two people that want to make a change in their life. However, they are powerless to fix their own problem. Jarius’ beloved daughter is sick and is near death. The woman with the hemorrhage has seen many doctors, and yet continues to be plagued by bleeding.

In their desperation they make a plan to turn to Jesus for his healing. They follow through on this plan; Jarius by confronting and begging Jesus, and the woman by secretly touching the hem of his cloak. In both cases Jesus says the same thing, it is the faith of those seeking to be healed that will save them. Jesus heals both Jarius’ daughter and the woman because they put their total trust in him.

When was the last time you really prayed for something and trusted God with it? If you are anything like me, it can be easy to think that God has bigger fish to fry than my stress or my struggle. But the reality is that God wants to be fully present in you life. God wants your complete trust and faith in him and his healing power. God wants to save you. The Greek words used to describe the “healing” that Jarius’ daughter and the woman received is the same word early Christians use to describe being saved from death and resurrected with Jesus to life eternal!

Whatever your cares and stresses are this week, even if they seem small and insignificant in the big picture, offer them up to Jesus. Give Jesus your worries. Trust that our God wants to heal you and give you a new life in him.

Live It:
Take a post-it note and write your stress, illness, or struggle on it. Then leave that post it not somewhere for Jesus to find. Say this quick prayer, “Jesus I trust you to heal me. I give you _________. Help me.”

Feel free to bring your post-it note to HNOJ and leave it somewhere here! If we find it, we will pray for you.