Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘discernment’

Loss, Lament & Loyalty


Loss, Lament, and Loyalty

 

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Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

 

Sermon Notes by Jan Beekman
from the sermon today
based on the scripture – Mark 12:38-44 –
Preached by Rev. Jean Johnson
at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, Montana

 

Naomi’s son had died.
She was alone and old.
Her future was grim.
What had she been told?

 

“Deal with your losses –
Send your daughters-in-law
Back to their homes.”
But, the plan had a flaw.

 

Ruth did not want to return!
She told Naomi she’d stay.
Orpha decided to go back.
Each woman to her own way.

 

We each have a choice.
We think we’re paralyzed, but we’re not.
We may lack energy and will power;
We may feel in our losses, we’re caught.

 

Ruth knew she couldn’t run
From the pain life threw at her.
She chose to stay and face her life,
And be in a place she could matter.

 

To turn evil into something good,
She was loyal to her mother-in-law.
She broke ties with her past
And looked ahead at what she saw.

 

She saw through eyes of faith.
Naomi had taught her to use God’s eyes –
Do more than just endure;
Keep your faith and be kind and wise.

 

To endure the evil of today’s world,
Cling to one another in love –
And look out for those in need.
Use your discerning power from God above.

 

Amen?

Here’s the Ear to Hear


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The ear to hear
Does not always work
It can change its tune
Take a break and shirk

I took its job for granted
Until one day I found
Sounds came to me distorted
Like vibrations from underground

I couldn’t hear my footsteps
Voices seemed far off
It all began last month
With a cold and nagging cough

I didn’t have the symptoms
Of others with the flu
I had no fever or body ache
Just couldn’t quite hear you

Unless I watched your mouth
Or you spoke up loud and clear,
Your voice seemed all muffled
Especially in my left ear

I kept expecting it to pop
And open up one day
Like it does when you go flying
Then land and yawn and say “Hooray!”

But it has been a month now
And the situation’s worse
The hearing test affirmed the fact
I’m blessed with a hearing curse

Last month my sister stayed with us
She has a hearing problem, too
I let the need to repeat myself
Annoy me more than a time or two

So now I think the Lord above
Is teaching me a lesson
See how it feels in a soundless tunnel
Compassion’s growing, I’m a-guessin’

A hearing aid may be the next
Tool that helps my plight
Just as my seamless bifocals
Improved my failing sight

The audiologist instructed me
To set aside my fears
And open my mind to admit
Aids can help as we add on years

I learned that ignoring it
And thinking I’ll make do
Is not a good alternative
Cuz loss of sound will damage you

It’s not just that it’s annoying
It actually hurts the brain
When sounds decrease and we
Receive the signal with too much strain

Brain cells actually stop working
They shrivel up and die
When they stop getting the stimuli
And scientists know why

They’ve studied this phenomena
There’s evidence to prove
Unused syntax disappear when they don’t
Get the sounds that make them move.

Isolation and depression are
Effects that can set in
And so might dementia start
These facts made my head spin

So here’s my ear that used to hear
I’m ready for it to work again
But just in case it doesn’t mind
I won’t delay; I’ll sport a grin

And listen to my ENT who says
A hearing aid is right for me
I’ll wear the damn thing faithfully
To keep my brains cells working actively.

Jan Beekman
1/24/18

Realizing Limitations


“I don’t understand why people can’t admit their faults; if I had any, I sure would!” I love that quote. It’s all about the log in my eye while I’m pointing out the sliver in someone else’s eye. That log gets in the way of my clear vision. It prevents me from realizing my own limitations.

Limitations? Do  I  have limitations? One of my favorite scriptures is, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” ALL things? Jump tall buildings in a single bound? End war forever? Cure cancer? Well, those are limitations that are easily recognized and admitted. What realistically do I see and acknowledge? What are the slivers in my eye? Do others see the speck that I choose to ignore?

The ophthalmologist calls those specks “floaters.” They are shadows caused by the floating cell particles at the back of my retina. Too remote to be seen without the use of high-powered instruments  –  or ever-discerning, fault-finding friends. Those friends are treasures! They care. They take the time to really observe. Most people don’t, you know. We’d all worry less about our faults and who sees them if we realized how few people care enough to really LOOK at us that closely! YOU are the one who holds the mirror, stands in front of it, and stares.

Limitations? Sometimes the most obvious ones are the ones we actually DO see – – – and we may be the only one who does. After all, who cares more about you than you do? Do all faults have to be limitations?

Go ahead – – – scale that tall building! Find a cure for cancer! Someone will someday, you know. Might as well be you!

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