Troubling times like these call us to lament our sorrows and cry out to God together as a community. Please join us for a virtual service of Lament and Healing on Thursday, October 29 at 7 pm. This service will be livestreamed on this website at this link (not on Facebook) and will include an opportunity for individual prayer via Zoom breakout room during the service (The Zoom link will be available on the video page) We will ask God to meet us in our pain, give us courage, and grant us hope and healing through one another and in Christ. We hope you’ll join us.
Even those of us who haven’t lost something we’d consider major or tangible, even those of us who aren’t grieving the death of a loved one, we’ve lost our sense of normalcy, our ability to plan, our rhythms, the options we are used to having. We are having to use our energy in different ways, make all sorts of choices we never had to before, think through things with new factors in mind. It takes courage to lay this out before God and one another. ..
During the service you will be able to request private prayer with a member of the pastoral staff via the individual Zoom rooms. After the livestream, the video of the service – but not the Zoom rooms – will be archived on the Princeton UMC website to watch at a later time.
As a peaceful, healing solace for those who are hurting and mourning — away from the frenzy of the season – Rev. Jenny Smith Walz and PrincetonUMC’s Stephen Ministers will offer a “Longest Night Service,” on Tuesday, December 17 at 7:30 p.m.
On the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost, October 21, 2018, Pastor Jenny Smith Walz preached from the sermon series ‘Miracles Everywhere’ on the topic “Believing”. Her text is from John 9:1-12(Healing the Man Born Blind – He Has to Go and Wash) and Mark 2:1-12(Friends Carry Paralyzed Man to Jesus).
To hear the sermon live, go to the Princeton United Methodist Church Facebook page
Also the sermon will be podcast soon on this webpage under the category “worship”.
In a study involving a group of Americans who haven’t been to Mexico and a group of Mexicans who haven’t been to America, researchers used a binocular-like device with an image of baseball in one eye and an image of bullfighting in the other. When asked what they had seen, Mexicans typically saw bullfighting, and Americans saw baseball. We often see what we know, what we’ve experienced, what we expect.
Seeing is a miracle in and of itself.
Even the simplest process in the eye is enormously complex. The retina conducts close to 10 billion calculations every second, before an image even travels through the optic nerve to the visual cortex.
Day 42 after conception – the first neuron is formed in a baby’s brain. By birth a baby will have an estimated 86 billion brain cells. Brain begins to form neuronal connections called synapses.By six months old, each brain cell has about 18 thousand connections.
Millions of neurons are firing across billions of neuropathways every second of every day.
Babies at birth – vision is no better than 20/200. Can’t focus on anything farther than 12″ away. 8 months – babies can see almost as well as we can. During that process – windows of opportunity open and close. Vision is wired between birth and 18 months. Synaptogenesis in visual cortex peaks at 2 months.
If patch is placed over eye of a newborn and left there during first few years of life, baby would be blind for rest of life in that eye, even if that eye was perfectly normal. No synapses would be formed between the visual cortex and optical nerve. Irreversible.
Not only is this the process for physically seeing, but also being able to create images in our mind’s eye based on our experiences and memory. Mountain. House. Family. School. These words bring up images in our minds that aren’t generic, but are actual images / impressions of places we’ve experienced that have meaning for us. This man born blind didn’t have these images or even ones of mom or dad.
For the Man born blind the whole chapter is a saga, fiasco, a big deal.
Disciples – who sinned?
Neighbors – is this the same man?
Pharisees – Jesus must be the sinner here
Parents – brought in and questioned
Man – questioned more
Jesus and the Man – who’s really blind…
The Blind Man received a set of instructions: Go to the pool of Siloam and wash. We don’t know exactly how far he had to go, but it seems he would have descended hundreds of steps, and this miracle happened during the Feast of Tabernacles, so he would have bumped into thousands of pilgrims. Why? Why not just heal him on the spot? Seems unnecessary!!
There is this Story by Bishop William Frey. He volunteered to tutor a student who was blind since age thirteen, as a result of a chemical explosion. The student felt like life was over and was feeling sorry for himself. One day his dad said – “John, winter’s coming and the storm windows need to be up – that’s your job. I want those hung by the time I get back this evening.” He pretended to walk out of the room. John got angry – he was so angry he decided to do it – “when I fall they’ll have a blind and paralyzed son!” He didn’t fall! He discovered he was capable of doing far more than he realized, even with blind eyes. In reality, dad was never more than 5 feet away. He made sure John was safe, but knew that helplessness was a far worse curse than blindness.
Jesus didn’t just heal his blind eyes. He restored his dignity by not leaving him helpless. Most miracles require an act of obedience. Somehow, God keeps calling us, inviting us to be miracle workers with God.
Last week we were invited us to put on God-Vision Goggles in order to see what God is up to. This week, not only our GHE and our GSS, but also to become partners with God in making happen Miracles Everywhere.
I’ve been talking about miracles as experiences of God’s love, power, presence, and purpose, inviting us to open our eyes to a whole huge wide world or miracles.
Even though miracles are all about God – they are experiences of God, they are signposts to God. And while they always affect and change the people they happen to, they are even more about God and about the trust fostered in God as the miracle happens.
When we think about miracles, we tend to think about God being the doer. And that is true of course. But it’s not the whole story. Think about the miracles that we read about in scripture…… Let’s name some…..and the way humans were part of it.
Mark’s paralyzed man – friends carried
water into wine – stewards, Mary
walking on water – xxx
healing paralytic – friends carried on a mat
feeding 5000 – boy with fish and bread, disciples
raising Lazarus – unwrapping by disciples
Moses – parting water
healing – faith has made you well
resurrection – xxx
burning bush – Moses to see it
Elijah and widow of Zarephath – flour didn’t run out, then healed son – Elijah
walls of Jericho – Joshua and crew
creation – xxx
In New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy
Nearly 12K volunteers rebuilt over 250 houses
immediately after people provided over 50K meals
gave 5000 people shelter
Mucked out 2000 homes
provided 11K flood buckets
3000 Health kits
provided tons of clothing, blankets, heaters, etc.
2.7 million people treated, averting 6.8 million deaths
175 structures treated
1000 community health workers trained
See you are no less spectacular than any of these other helpers. God works every day with people. God has given you time, talent, treasure, gifts, passions, and a GOOD EYE. Take a moment – what are you seeing with your GVG? hearing with your GHE? With your Good Eye? See and seize every opportunity to bless others, to be a miracles worker!To be a partner of God!