To Bind up the Brokenhearted

This past week while preparing songs for the second Sunday of advent, I couldn’t help but feel inadequate.  Yes, those feelings hound us all from time to time.  My thoughts kept drifting to extended family situations, those which happened long ago, and some more recent, even though I was rehearsing words like….

“Come thou long-expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free”

Sunday came and our worship practice was rushed.  Some of us had arrived late due to freezing rain the night before. Everything had been frozen over with a thick sheet of ice.  My entire vehicle was imprisoned in a hard glossy shell. As I yanked on the handle to try to open the door I heard….

“From our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in Thee”

My husband was away, and I sat alone near the front.  As the church filled for the first service I kept wondering, “why God, would you want to have anything to do with someone as weak as I?

“Israel’s strength and consolation, Hope of all the earth Thou art”

In the middle of a song I looked out and saw a friend, who had just returned to town from her Mother’s passing.  I had wanted to have her over for dinner right after she arrived home, but the time had slipped away. Another song and another face, a man who had  said goodbye to his wife last Christmas, due to a sudden serious illness.  “I need you” my heart cried.  “We need you”.

“Dear Desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart”

In between services I spied a new friend and slid into the pew beside her.  I had remembered she had told me something in passing – months ago, and It kept ringing in my ears.  I sat down and cautiously asked if I could inquire about her health.  She graciously shared about her illness and the necessary medications required. She went on to tell me a bit about her family and where she came from.

“Thank you for coming Jesus” I whispered under my breath, for taking on human form and walking among us to feel our pain”.  For sacrificing your life  in order to release us from the icy grip of despair and death. You alone, are our strength, and hope!  As we celebrate your birth in a manger, and long for your return –  may You be our desire and our joy!

 

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives” (Isaiah 61:1).

Lyrics from “Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus” Text: Charles Wesley, Music: Rowland H. Prchard, Arranged by:  Robert Harkness

 

 

 

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While Waiting in Line at the Store

I didn’t have much time before I had to be back at work, but that didn’t seem to be as pressing as I thought, because I saw a man’s face in the crowd, and uncontrollably blurted out “hello”, followed by his name.  I hadn’t seen him in years, and yet I somehow knew his name.

He looked straight at me and spoke my name too, which was equally as strange.  I had a hat on my head to hide by messy hair. The brim was pulled down quite low.  I had hoped I was unrecognizable, but then why would I be saying hello?  What was God up to?

The fellow left the line up at the till and walked over.  We went to High School together, he was in my sister’s grade.  Our conversation was as if we knew each other well.  It only took seconds to discover the reason for our familiarity.

“I’ve been a Christian for about six years now” he confessed.  I smiled, “how wonderful” I replied.  He knew I was a believer too.  Ah hah!  We were one in the spirit, brothers and sisters in the family of God.  We shared a powerful bond.

He spoke about his Dad, who had just died recently, and I shared of how my husband and I had just said goodbye to our Mom. I warmly offered my sympathies and raved about how God can help us through even the darkest of times.

He shared about his recent separation, counseling, and the Bible studies he was attending.  I gently reminded him we are all on a journey, and we all make mistakes.  But it is the humble and courageous who recognize their need for help, and their need of God – in order to change.

He told me he had a home church he was attending regularly.  I commended him for not trying to “go it alone.”

I invited him to a monthly community dinner we have for single parents, widowers, the divorced.  “It’s just nice not to have to cook.  By dining together we learn more about that journey we are on, and how we need each other, most importantly how God can help.

We went our separate ways back to our work, but it was evident God had planned another one of His moments.  Life had just gotten a little less lonely.  The world in all it’s frenzy, and indifference had just gotten a little warmer, and made more sense.

I worked that afternoon under a special glow.  We might have a thousand things to do, but none more important than making personal contact.  When we dare to make time for one another, we get to see Jesus in a brand new light.  We get to live on purpose.

 

 

Weak is the Strong

WEAK IS THE STRONG

I pity the child who searches in vain

who strives to be strong

man’s approval to gain

who hangs on his words

her purpose and worth

and builds on his walls

to honor man’s call

 

I pity the child whose body is grown

but mind left behind

man’s bars of control

She built on his praise

so twisted and tough

but we are all grass

and strong’s not enough

 

I pity the child who misunderstood

for weak is the strong

and humility good

to work for approval

annihilates grace

and crushes the spirit

and shadows God’s face.

 

2 Corinthians 12:9,10

copyright Cindy Palin, October 19th, 2014