From Rev Sue Ann Yarbrough
These times are trying. Please know that all of us at SpiritCare Ministry are holding you all in prayer. That means we are holding you all with confidence, knowing that ultimately it is God who is holding us all. Please do not hesitate to call or drop me an email with concerns, joys, or specific prayer requests. I am here for you.
I grew up in ranching country, so the image of good pasture is still dear to me. I love the references Jesus makes about his people being sheep. The image that comes to my mind is of sheep traveling together in a flock, almost as one. I love the idea of our belonging to one another and moving with one another, of our finding our way through the gate together, and then going on to find good and sustaining pasture.
We are reminded that no matter how narrow the gate is that we must pass through, we will make it through and find nourishment for our soul. It is a beautiful pastoral image and one that brings calm to my heart and mind. Whatever we need to face, whatever we need to move through, we can find the strength to do so because we know we journey with one another. This is an honest, yet faith filled way of living our lives: connected and in relationship.
Yet, Jesus mentions thieves and outlaws. That worries us, but we are assured that there is no thief or outlaw who can lock the gate or who can lead us astray. With eyes and hearts on Christ, we learn to remain steadfast and courageous. We trust the Good Shepherd, and we know he is tending to us. There is no reason to be afraid. Nothing can be taken from us because the gift of eternal life stretches before us like a beautiful green pasture. We know will be feasting on God's love forever. We belong to one another, and to God. We belong, not to thieves, but to Love.
Let us remember that we are always in the house (and pasture) of the Lord. Nowhere can we go that God is not there.
Blessed be. Rev Sue Ann
We feel a sense of urgency. We may want to resolve the issue by doing something - anything now, but that action is not in our best interest - or those we want to help or serve.
Living with confusion or unresolved problems creates difficulties for us. It is easier to resolve things. But making a decision too soon - doing something before it's time - means that we may have to go back and redo it. We're in the midst of this kind of situation as we deal with the pandemic.
If the time is not right, wait. If the way is not clear, do not plunge forward. If the answer or decision feels muddy, wait.
In the new way of life that we have with the Lord Jesus, we have a guiding force. We do not have to move too soon or move out of harmony. Waiting is an action - a positive, forceful action. Often, waiting is a God-led action, one with as much power as a decision, and more powerful than an urgent, ill-timed decision.
We do not have to pressure ourselves by insisting that we do or know something before it's time. When it is time, we will know. The Holy Spirit will give us definite word. We will move into that time naturally - with supernatural insight. We will move harmoniously. We will have inner peace about our decision and we will have consistency. We will feel empowered in a way we do not feel today.
Let the Lord guide. Let the Lord lead. Let the Lord bring clarity.
Deal with the panic. Deal with the urgency. Deal with the fear within. Do not let them control or dictate the decisions of your life.
Waiting is not easy. It isn't fun, at least not for me, not for you. Waiting is often necessary to get what we want and what we need.
It is not dead-time. It is not downtime. The answer will come. The right power to action just precisely on time will come. Yes, the time will come...and it will be right.
Lord Jesus, guided by your Holy Spirit, I will wait if waiting is the action I need in order to take care of others and myself. I will know that I am taking a positive, forceful action by waiting until the time is right. I know you will speak to me at just the right time if I wait.
Jesus, help me to let go of my fear, my urgency, and panic. Help me to learn the art of waiting until the time is right. Help me to learn timing with your economy of time. Amen.
God bless us all as we courageously and confidently take on the day. Confidently I say that the Lord has a special place in His heart for those who wait on Him.
Cordially, Pastor Tom
From Rev Sue Ann Yarbrough
I have talked with or emailed the many care community activity directors I meet monthly in the last week. Thank you all for your responses. My intention is to post a short weekly email that includes some scripture, a meditation, and prayer that activity directors can share with residents and other staff members. Please know you all are in our prayers, and do let us know if we can be of help in any way. I miss being with all of your communities!
Scripture: James 1:16-18, Common English Bible
"Don't be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good gift, every perfect gift, comes from above. These gifts come down from the Father, the creator of the heavenly lights, in whose character there is no change at all. He has chosen to give us birth by his true word, and here is the result: we are like the first crop from the harvest of everything he created. Know this, my dear brothers and sisters: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to grow angry."
When Tyler and I first moved into our house over two decades ago, the house across the street was home to a grandmother, two adult daughters, and one young granddaughter. The grandmother and I would often sit together for an hour or in the afternoon at her kitchen table. One early January she shared that she had walked into her granddaughter's room the night before and found her weeping. When Tina asked the child what was wrong, she replied, "The lights are gone."
This puzzled Tina because they had taken their Christmas tree over a week ago. However, when Tina looked out the child's bedroom window, she realized that the child could see our living room window and our Christmas tree, which indeed had grown dark. It was after Epiphany, and earlier that day, we had begun to pack the lights and decorations away. The child said that she liked to sit at the window at night and simply look at the lights. My heart was touched. I could so easily see myself doing the same thing.
However, James reminds us that God's light is unchanging. While events in our lives come and go, God is eternal. Therefore James' advice to be slow to anger is sound. For in the midst of all that is changing, and sometimes frustrating, there is always God who is continually giving us light and love. These gifts are eternal and sacred. Let us also remember that sometimes we do not know who is needing our own light to keep shining. Let us be quick to share our light and love, and leave the rest to God.
Holy, Eternally Loving God, we thank you for surrounding us with your love and guidance and we pray for health and refuge for all in this time of illness. Help us to share the gifts of love that you have so generously given us. Help us to tend to one another with patience, compassion, and generosity. We know that it is because of your abundant, far reaching light that we have life, and we are grateful. May we be ever mindful of your love as we remember, "Within you is the spring of life. In your light, we see light." Psalm 36:9
In Jesus' name we gratefully pray, Amen
Blessings, Rev Sue Ann
From Rev Sue Ann Yarbrough
Greetings from SpiritCare Ministry. Please know that you, those you love, and those you serve are in our prayers. My intention is to provide a weekly short meditation and prayer, especially for care community activity directors who may be looking for something to share with their residents.
Blessings to you all this Easter Season. I miss you all and you are in my prayers.
Scripture: Matthew 26:36-40 New International Version (NIV) Garden of Gethsemane
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Yesterday I took our dog out for a walk. Jack is an aging standard poodle with very curly hair. About ten years ago, we adopted him through a rescue agency. We think he was about two years old then, so we estimate his age to be about 12. He no longer sees well, so on our walks he relies heavily on his sense of smell.
On this particular walk, a rose caught my eye, and I went over to investigate. Jack decided to do the same, but as he drew near to the plant, one of his curly ears got caught in the thorns. This particular bush has large thorns. He immediately tried to pull away, but that just made things worse. I actually had to pull him a little closer to the thorns that had snagged him in order to gently get his hair untangled. He was not too sure about that strategy, but it did work. He was soon set free.
In the garden, Jesus actually prayed three times for the cup to pass him by. But that also meant that three times he prayed, "not as I will, but as you will." That is the gift of prayer. While we may be called to draw closer to the thorns that ensnare us, we do so, knowing that we also draw closer to God, and it there where we find our freedom. This is what Jesus' life teaches us. To be willing to go where we are called, trusting in the hand that is guiding us, listening to the voice that says, "You will be okay. In just a moment, you will be okay." God always calls us to freedom, just where we are. We simply must learn to trust the hand that is freeing us. Blessed be.
Holy Eternal God, while we may feel isolated now, you are ever with us, calling us to freely share our love. May we feel this freedom right where we are today. May we remember that whatever thorns may be in our path, Christ will always free us from what threatens to ensnare us. May we always have the courage to trust, even when, like Jesus, we are called to move closer to the struggle. We pray for those who are ill, dear God. We pray for those who are tending to our care, and we pray for their families. May your loving, healing touch be known to all.
In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Easter blessings to all, Rev Sue Ann
Meditation For Palm Sunday
From Rev Sue Ann Yarbrough
This is a note to let you know that we of SpiritCare Ministry are thinking of you, and praying for you. This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, which marks Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, and the beginning of Holy Week. If we were in church this Sunday, our celebrations would start with the waving of palms. This part of the service is often led by children, so there is usually a festive air. Yet, by the end of the service, a more somber note is heard. We know Good Friday is on the way. However, we also know that Resurrection Sunday will always follow. This is the promise that Jesus' life, death, and resurrection gives to us. We can believe in eternal life.
Scripture: Mark 11:4-9 Common English Bible (CEB)
They went and found a colt tied to a gate outside on the street, and they untied it. Some people standing around said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them just what Jesus said, and they left them alone. They brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes upon it, and he sat on it. Many people spread out their clothes on the road while others spread branches cut from the fields. Those in front of him and those following were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!"
In Mark 11, we read of Jesus being brought a colt that had never been ridden. People threw their clothes on the colt and on the ground as Jesus rides on to Jerusalem. I have always loved this passage. It speaks of the humility of riding into Jerusalem simply, not in a chariot or on a war house as the Romans would have done, but rather on a colt that had never been ridden. This hints that something new was happening, and the people were not only excited, they wanted to take part. They placed their clothing on the colt and on the path that lay before them. People also brought branches cut from the fields.
This Holy Week and Easter, of course will be very different for us all. There will be no elaborate gatherings. However, I think this might be the way that Jesus wants us to note his death and resurrection - with humility and deep love, and with the knowledge that something new is about to happen. In this, we, too can take part!
Holy One, we give you thanks for the knowledge that you are always with us, and always guiding us. We pray for our community, that love and good health will prevail. We pray for all of those who are tending to the sick, and for those who working to find the cures. Help us to remember to treat everyone with compassion and love. May our hearts always be grateful for what Jesus has done for us.
In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
If you have any comments, please let me know. Bless you all. I am so grateful for the work you do, and please take good care of yourselves.
Blessings to you all! Rev Sue Ann