Welcome to the JCPC Daily Reflections Blog. Reflections are daily devotionals authored by JCPC pastors, staff and members and provide insight, guidance and comfort to help you make it through each day. If you’d like to receive Reflections each day via email, provide your email address.
For many of the times I have read Jonah's story, I focused on the lessons God teaches us related to repentance and forgiveness.
These words from a devotion for families, Sing! Play! Summer! put love at the center.
Jonah 2:1-2, "Then Jonah prayed to God from the belly of the fish, saying, 'I called to God out of my distress, and God answered me."
I saw this story of Jonah in a new way as I read the devotion. "Full of twists and turns, the story of Jonah is about at least two things: 1) God's pervasive and persistent love, and 2) stepping up to the challenges that change can bring. Jonah tries to avoid God's call at first, while the people of Nineveh embrace it, changing their lives for the better. The story ends with the idea that the God of love is at work in and through all the twists and turns of our lives, sometimes hidden, sometimes plain- and that God's mercy knows no bounds!" (Salt Project)
"God of love is at work in and through all the twists and turns of our lives". Over the past almost three months we have experiences lots of twists and turns that were not expected. How have you seen our God of love at work in your twists and turns recently? When has someone reminded you of God's mercy?
Aghast, stunned, angry, sad, confused; these are but a few emotions I have experienced watching the chaos in Atlanta this past weekend. Our Solace Sunday meeting was spent processing these emotions and more as we attempted to sort out what Christian responses need to be in the face of this chaos. The answers aren't simple; they never are, yet Christian faith was born into chaos and it is lived to bring reconciliation into the chaotic world. Listen to how St. Paul describes our ministry in the 5th chapter of 2 Corinthians:
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
What does reconciliation look like in action? I want to share three pictures which illustrate the power of reconciliation in the face of chaos. The first is a picture from Louisville, KY where a police officer had been separated from his unit and was protected by his citizens he is sworn to protect.
This second picture is one of police officers kneeling in prayer as protesters approached them.
Finally, through prayer reconciliation brings order to the chaos.
We have witnessed too many scenes of violence, chaos, and destruction. God is working to bring about reconciliation in our broken world. Let's share together in the ministry of reconciliation.
Prayer for Today
Breathe your Spirit upon your people, O Merciful God, and convict us to be ambassadors of Christ who heed your call to the ministry of reconciliation so that we will be people of healing, hope, and love. Amen.
In spite of not being able to gather yet for worship, we have some pretty exciting things happening in the near future. This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday and we will once again be celebrating communion in the service. I hope everyone will have bread and grape juice or wine ready at home to celebrate The Lord's Supper along with us. We will also be watching a special Zoom video Brian has created, along with many others, to offer one way to hear the Pentecost passage from Acts 2. You won't want to miss it!
On the next Sunday, June 7th, we're trying something new. At the suggestion of one of our church members, Angela Harvey, we are inviting members of the church to drive through and bring their offerings between 10:00 a.m. and Noon. Angela thought this might be a good way for church members to connect, even though we will stay in our cars. Pastors (wearing masks) and some elders will be there to receive the offering and to offer a blessing -- if folks would like one. We will also be collecting for our mission partner, Hands of Christ. Food, clothing, and monetary donations will be accepted. We will be doing all of this taking safety precautions into account.
On June 14, the Rev. Ben Mathes will be our guest Online Worship preacher. Ben is finally retiring completely and asked if he could preach one last time this year at JCPC. June 14 was the only date he had available, so we took it. Ben founded Rivers of the World (ROW) which later became Mission: Hope. Those who know Ben know what to expect . . . or not! Ben always shares some exciting stories from the mission field. You will not want to miss the online sermon that day!
God continues to work through the members, ministry, and mission of Johns Creek Presbyterian Church - even when we cannot gather for worship. As Pentecost reminds us, God's Holy Spirit is never confined to one place!
Prayer for Today
Thank you, God, for your Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of the risen Christ alive everywhere. May your Spirit inspire us to live life fully, whatever challenges we face in life. In the strong name of Jesus the Christ we pray. Amen.