Christ Church Schenectady Prayer Table Report, March 20, 2010, 9:30 -10:30 AM Chuck Rinaldo and Dave Carlson
+–indicates received wooden cross made by Dennis Adams of North Carolina
Today is the first day of Spring! It was warm and sunny and many folks were out walking and taking advantage of the nice weather.
Clifford — he told us the last time he came for prayer he was in a “bad way” but today things are much better; I remembered him from the previous time and he looked so much better today; he asked prayer for his family
++ Joe — asked prayer for his health and his family – asked for an extra cross
+ Sasha – did not want prayer, stating that “life is going well” for her; she did accept a cross though
Jose – we asked if we could pray for him – he said “sure” but kept walking; we prayed that he would know the Lord and draw close to Him
+ a man stopped to get one of our crosses; I remembered his face from a previous visit, but not his name; I said “I forgot your name, sir” – his response was “I didn’t give it to you” – we prayed for him as he walked away that the Lord would meet his needs and draw the man closer to Himself
Arthur — another man who has come before – very cheerful man – he said “I already have 5 of those crosses. Things are good. When you have the Lord in your heart, things are good.” We prayed for the Lord’s continued blessing on Arthur and his family.
++++Virginia – walked up right after someone had declined prayer and said “I definitely want prayer – please pray for my kids who are in jail” – she said she has 3 kids and they’re all in jail currently. We prayed for encouragement for Virginia, that the Lord would protect her kids while they are in jail, and get a hold of their lives. We assured her that God loves them and has a plan for them. She took crosses for herself and all 3 kids. She also said she and her sister are interested in visiting Christ Church some time for a service. We gave her a card with our church info.
+ Joanne and young daughter + Stephanie – as they were walking by the table we greeted them and offered prayer; the little girl laughed and the mom seemed to not understand; we gave them each a cross and asked the Lord to bless them (we assumed there was a language barrier); a while later they were walking back the other way and this time stopped for prayer. They did speak English and they did want prayer. Joanne asked us to pray for her kids (Stephanie, who is in kindergarten, and her 7-year-old son + Louis). Stephanie picked out a cross to give to her brother.
+ 2 middle-school-aged boys – seemed suspicious of us (which is understandable since we are strangers to them), did not stop for prayer but one of them did accept a cross
A gentleman walking by in a hurry – when we asked how he was doing he said he was “blessed” – he did not stop for prayer but said we could pray for each other; another man walking by said he was not feeling well and had to get home – we prayed for the Lord’s healing
+ Delores – a woman walking by pushing a small cart, on her way to the nearby Dollar General store; she was very cheerful and said she was pleased that she was able to get out and walk to the store; we prayed for the Lord to strengthen her, provide for her, and protect her
We prayed for the people ministering in front of the Planned Parenthood as part of the ’40 days for Life’ – this ministry has been going on throughout Lent and will continue through Palm Sunday – it’s not too late to get involved (for more info go to http://40daysforlife.com/schenectady/)
Meditations by Deacon Howard Smith at Christ Church Schenectady:
Thirsty At The Well: Where is my Community?
March 12, 2010
Dedicated to the glory of God and to the loving memory of Beverly Rose.
In the voice and person of the Pastor of the Church of Sychar at the funeral of the Samaritan Woman.
I am thirsty.
One wouldn’t think that going to the well and back would leave one so thirsty.
Visiting the well today was a fitting way to remember our dear sister. She will be remembered forever as the Samaritan Woman who went to the well in the heat of the day. Here is the woman who literally brought our town of Sychar to Jesus, and for this we are eternally grateful.
I speak to you today as your friend and your pastor. But I haven’t always been your pastor. The day our Samaritan Woman met Jesus I was a prominent merchant in this town. I used to sell to our Samaritan Woman when no one else would speak to her. When all shunned her and when most other reputable merchants wouldn’t sell to her at all. Please note I am not patting myself on the back. For I told her back then to only come to my store when none of my good customers where around. Sometimes she would pass by my store many times before she could buy unnoticed. In spite of how I treated her she appreciated my willingness to sell to her. And that I charged her a fair price and treated her better than most. But even then I knew in my spirit, I didn’t treat her right. But, I was motivated by fear and what others might think of me and my own puffed up notions of myself.
I remember the day she met Jesus. She actually sought me out. I had a line of customers and she came running up the street screaming like a mad woman. She came in and pushed some customers out of the way to get to me. She grabbed me by the shirt and yelled, “He told me every thing I have done! Everything I have done!” And then she ran off yelling, “I have found the Messiah! I have found the Messiah at the well! Come quickly before he passes us by!”
I said thoughtfully out loud, “’He told me everything I have done. He told me everything I have done?’
Coming from her?
How can that be good news?”
Then I left everything and went to the well. Like many others I begged Jesus to stay and I hung on every word. And like many others I said to our Samaritan Woman, “Now I believe not because of what you said, but because I have heard for myself.”
The rest is history.
Now here lies our sister. And we rejoice that, “she will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Like all who believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in Him, even though they die, they shall live, for everyone who believe in Jesus will never die. So we rejoice in the hope of glory. Yet we mourn for our momentary loss. Her presence here will be dearly be missed.
She lived as an example of the transformation of what Jesus does in our lives. He transforms the darkness into light, fear into hope, hate into love, and isolation into community.
I mourn for our loss, but to be totally honest, I am heart stricken today for my loss. The loss of my opportunity. You see my brothers and sisters, I never loved her like family. In my heart there was a division between her and I, much like the one I had prior to Jesus. Back when I was a merchant and she was the customer I condescended to.
You see, it was enough for me to have a relationship with her in church, only.
It was enough to sit at the Lord’s Table with her, it was enough to eat with her at church potlucks, but I never dreamed of inviting her to my house for supper at my table.
It was enough to pray for her in church and listen to her fears, hopes and dreams. But I have never asked her to pray for me in any meaningful way or share my fears, hopes and dreams with her.
It was enough to be a professional Christian to her and not dirty my hands with her life.
Brother and sisters, tolerance, ….. tolerance is not, has never been, nor will ever be… a Christian Virtue. And I want to confess the sin of tolerance to you today. For truly, I have only tolerated her and never loved her, in an incarnate way.
I have come to realize in our loss that not loving her, was not loving Jesus and the work he was continually doing in her life.
My hope is in the resurrection. That at the last day the trumpets will sound. The dead in Christ will rise. The living will be caught up with Christ. We will be given new bodies. And in my flesh, and in my flesh, and in my flesh I shall see God! Then I will love God perfectly. Then I will love our Samaritan Woman perfectly.
But until that day I can seek Jesus and walk with Him. I can see the Kingdom of God break through into ordinary people and ordinary circumstances. I can love Jesus at work in all people and love the least of these incarnately.
I have found the Messiah and he has told me everything I have done.
This is truly Good News.
Thirsty at the Well – Where do I Worship?
March 19, 2010
In the voice and person of a modern day worshiper.
I’m thirsty for more than coffee and tea…
Soda, Red Bull and energy drinks.
I am thirsty for an encounter with the Messiah,
I am thirsty for a well greater
than what our ancestors have dug.
I am thirsty for more
than what I have dug for myself.
I’m thirsty to worship Him in spirit.
I’m thirsty for more than just a mountain top experience.
I am thirsty for more than just Holy Week Services.
I’m thirsty for more than a new favorite worship song.
One that makes me feel like my old favorite
I am thirsty for more than just an emotional high.
I am thirsty to worship Him in truth.
I am thirsty for more than the next book
that is supposed to change my life.
I’m thirsty for more than just Jesus
on the radio and tv,
…cd, mp3 or dvd.
I am thirsty for more than the next teaching series
or Lenten Meditation.
I am thirsty for more than just a religious experience.
I am thirsty for a new paradigm.
I am thirsty for new assumptions;
the ones necessary – to even begin –
to understand the equation.
I am thirsty for faith to even begin to believe that there is a harvest,
and that it can possible be ready.
oh why does the Samaritan Woman try so hard
to keep Jesus out?
Why don’t the disciples want to do more
than just eat?
Why don’t the people of Jesus’ hometown
Why do the people who should know Jesus best,
not get him at all?
I’m thirsty for more than coffee and tea…
Soda, Red Bull and energy drinks.
Am I ready to meet Jesus at the well?
To be held – in his eyes?
To be touched – by his word?
To experience new creation?
Am I ready for a Jesus
who asks me for water?
Jesus give me this water,
so that I will not be thirsty
or have to come here again.