Sunday has come around again and not just any Sunday. Today is Palm Sunday. The family came over for church again this week, and we seem to be getting into the habit of tea/coffee and something nice to eat after church. It will probably be one of my happy memories of lockdown. Not the usual stress to get to church on time, but rather a more relaxed flexible family time. We could stop the preacher mid-sermon to get water, help the kids with their activities and so on.
Our sermon was based on Colossians 2:13, “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins”
What I got out of it is that forgiveness is always costly. Our forgiveness cost God. We are called to forgive others. There will be a cost to us. It is not easy and can only be done if we have a full appreciation of the forgiveness God gifted to us.
I thought the children might want to make palm crosses,
but it was much more fun to race up and down on the driveway on roller blades or a scooter. After all, yesterday had been a cold, wet, indoor kind of day.
Yesterday I made cards with the grandchildren during “Granny Time.” They were meant to be Easter cards, but mine turned out to be a Thank You card, mainly because I had Thank You stickers in my craft box.
It got me to thinking about 1 Thes 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
At the end of 2017 my best friend gave me a journal with pictures to colour for each entry. I already had a quiet time journal so I decided to use this one as a Thanks Diary. Every day I would try to list new things for which I was grateful. I got to 206 before my other journal finished and I had to use my Thanks Diary as my journal.
I think it is a good habit to try to get back into in this topsy turvy time so here are today’s ten items on my thanks list.
That I can walk without pain. Some years ago I suffered from Sciatica and could barely walk ten steps without taking a break.
That I can breathe freely. Normally I am only thankful for this for a short while after I have got over a cold.
For a garden.
For birds that visit my feeding stations.
For eyes to see and contact lenses and reading glasses so I can see in focus.
For a sewing machine so I can help my granddaughter make a dress for her sister’s birthday.
For food in the house and enough energy to be creative in using tinned food so we don’t have to go shopping too often.
For the growth of the seeds I planted two weeks ago. I only have to do the planting. God causes the growing.
That all my children are well and confined in pleasant places.
For our church who have organised weekly prayer meetings and daily devotions.
I’m sure you can all add your ten items to a Thank You list. Please feel free to share. We are not called on to give thanks for all circumstances, but rather in all circumstances.
On Sunday we attended Virtual Church. Well, it wasn’t quite virtual reality – if you compare it to some games where you wear a helmet and wield a sword, but it was not real church. It was watching videos pre-recorded or selected by our leaders for us to watch at home with possibly a small group. Like video games, there are limits and restrictions. One of the restrictions is my knowledge of technology but the most notable difference is the lack of contact with other (real) people. It is difficult to carry out the injunction in Hebrews 10:25, “Do not give up meeting together…but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” But, as the world pulls together to fight this common pandemic using hygiene and social distancing, this is becoming the new reality.
Although we can’t continue meeting together (in big groups) we can certainly encourage each other. We can pray and tell people we are praying for them. We can send encouraging messages via WhatsApp rather than sensational type suspect news and messages which are more likely to engender fear than encouragement. A tip I learned yesterday; before mindlessly sending on a forwarded message, make it personal. Tell the person what the message/video/picture meant to you, why you think it will enrich them and how it made you think of them.
My encouraging message for today is Psalm 91 vs 1-3 (NIV).
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord,”He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
For those who read the first chapter of my potential book, “They call me Nothing,” Here is Chapter Two. You will remember in Chapter One we met the boy who had a good start in life but who now was a criminal. He comes to the Counselling Centre of a little church near Alexandra. In chapter two we get to know Kay, the counselor. http://www.chapterbuzz.com/FuzzyPanda/story/1/chapter/2
The chapter is still in draft form so please let me know how I can change it to make it better.