No Baggage – Just LOVE – God catching Fish, 06Jul – #205 *

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205

No Baggage – Just LOVE – God catching Fish, 06Jul

I do love visiting with people, that’s just part of my nature… and having spent every other day for a short visit to my grandmother’s nursing home from my birth until age eleven, I understand the temporary nature of these visits, and the permanent situation they are in… I know the routine of flying in like a bird feasting on love and smiles and flying just as quickly out… Bringing the kids with me, maybe someday they will understand the power in a smile, a kind word… Some folks entering may be overwhelmed with the sadness of the people’s situation… Some may be caught up (especially with their own family members) in the guilt of such a short visit as well as feeling the pain of seeing them decline…and not being able to drop their baggage of the inevitably grave situation…

So entering as an outsider to “be the church” and visit briefly, you flutter in like a bird… are able to share Jesus’s pure love, while dropping your own baggage at the door… You are called to have compassion, as in Romans 12:15 (KJV) “15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”…   With this recent visit I was reminded how nice visiting the nursing home is… Nice isn’t sufficient a word… I LOVE visiting… The first man I met grabbed my hand and wished me peace. He became my go to guy for music inspirations. Such a sweet exchange… Smiles come from all the people, especially when they see the kids… I get to share smiles and hand holding, no prep work needed… Abundant Grace gifts of community all around. As a friend from our church led the service, my daughter prepped the communion cups… My shy guy just looked cute… I thought I would ask them what they wanted to sing, and being it was the 4th of July weekend we sang some patriotic songs… and I suggested Amazing Grace… they loved singing of course. After the service one woman said how much she appreciated the service, and could understand the message…

Many well wishes and compliments abound from these lovely people. We are not family, so there are no expectations, no entitlements, just affirmations of community, just free love to flow back and forth. After service they “dashed” off to bingo… I could envision them concentrating on their own boards while keeping a watchful eye over each other’s numbers… Keeping a watchful eye over each other’s lives… On the way out I met a man, a veteran, originally from Pittsburgh, who couldn’t hear me, said he was a paratrooper jumping out of planes and lost his hearing from that, and he didn’t get the health care he needed as a vet… He told me in Pittsburgh that he could catch fish just using his bare hands… Hmmm…. He just scooped his hands to show me how easy it is to catch fish.

These people held my hands as I held theirs but truly they captured my heart… Through the love showered on me, it reminds me that I am just one of the lucky fish that HE, our Heavenly Father, caught in HIS hands. No entitlement expected, just an affirmation that I appreciate of His LOVE. No baggage, no guilt, God scooped His hands and caught me while Jesus reached out to wake me from my slumber by holding my hand… Telling me I was just sleeping… Arise…. And now telling me to live my life in a way that when I am weak, I am strong… The scripture reading (2 Corinthians 12) was fitting and a comfort to me and hopefully to them… God knows there’s pain, anguish, loneliness, personal battles… a thorn in your side…. Paul reminds us to remember to stay humble, to stay weak so that we stay connected to God, and look to Jesus to show us the way to true inner joy and peace… The cross you carry, no matter how painful, is there to give you hope, it’s your way to your salvation into an eternal life….

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2 Corinthians 12 (NIV) Paul’s Vision and His Thorn

12 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

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