Sunday, April 30, 2006

He opened their minds

One thing I love about going to an honest-to-God actual Christian church is that I get to hear the bible every Sunday. Not just on special once-in-awhile days like at the UU church, but every darned Sunday. I love that.

Today, in Luke's gospel, this line jumped out at me:

Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures

Jesus opened the minds of the disciples so that they could understand the scriptures. What is so cool about this line is that I have experienced it myself. Things that have been huge conundrums for me suddenly became clear. Theological issues which confounded me became totally understandable. This happened with a lot of things after I got baptized. But even now, as I am reading a psalm or a verse from the scriptures, I will feel the fog lift and see things with such clarity it sometimes moves me to tears. And I suspect Jesus is part of that clarity. I believe that the Holy Spirit whispers loving hints into my heart so I can understand what God is trying to say. I love that.

Bible study today was all about evangelizing. We read the line in Acts where God tells Paul not to be afraid to speak out. (Ironic, of course, considering Paul had every right to be terrified...) Speaking out has been hard for me. My image of myself has changed so much, but I still feel shy saying the word "Christian". It is odd, really, since I can't even remember not being a Christian. But for some reason I still choke a little on the word. I think it is because for 39 years, I wasn't one, so it is still very very new. But even when we don't say a word, God finds ways to use us for his good.

As you regulars know, my new church is in the process of merging with another, wonderful, church down the road. It is a very painful process for them, I think. Today we had a big pot-luck at their parish house to introduce the two congregations to one another. I know a couple of the folks there from my church shopping spree in the fall. But this morning I walked in to the kitchen of the soon-to-close church and almost bumped into one of the guests who was at my kitchen tools party last night. In fact, not just a guest, but the mother of the hostess. I was stunned. We, of course, had never mentioned our religious leanings. We had no idea we would soon be attending the same church. But there she was. And in that moment when we recognized each other, we both felt the power of the Holy Spirit in such a huge way that we just hugged one another and let our eyes fill right up. It turned out, her daughter (my hostess) and son in law and grandkids were all sitting out in the dining room. And I remembered all their names from the night before and went to sit with them. My son became very friendly with their daughter... so now I think she might even be looking forward to the move to Grace.

God is so good.

God is so good.

God, Beloved, my Beloved, you are so good.

You weave yourself into our lives, giving us little glimpses of your work in action. We wonder why things unfold as they do. I am learning that in trusting you, my life unfolds in such magical ways. I am so grateful. Let me be an instrument of your peace. Let me trust in you always.

Luke 24:36b-48

36bJesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." 37They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38He said to them, "Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." 40And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate in their presence.

44Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you�that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled." 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and he said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things."

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