Today's Lectionary Text
He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”
And again he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”
As I take time to craft my devotionals it gives me an opportunity to think about the week that has past and the week ahead. Today I reflect on the week that has past, last Monday I received a phone call at 10:30 at night. I was just on the edge of sleep, and we always know that those calls that come around bedtime or after are never good news. Often, we think that it is something that has happened in our family or in churches we serve. Those late-night calls are calls for help and comfort.
When I looked at the caller ID with my blurry eyes the name just didn’t register so I assumed it was a wrong number. Then the voicemail notification came through. I listened to the voicemail and then the name clicked, it was a high school classmate. She was reaching out because she didn’t know where to turn. Her 26-year-old son had died by suicide. A tragic and life changing event for sure. She was struggling with the news and the fact that as they were growing up, they did not attend church on a regular basis. Tracy and her fiancé Brent are now members of Church of the Resurrection and after our initial conversation I was able to connect her back to her home church.
But Monday night she asked if I would be the pastor for her son’s service and I told her, “Yes, of course.” So, as we talked throughout the week and took time to share memories of Andrew, her son, I was again reminded of the connection with her family as I attended church with Tracy’s grandparents many years ago. They were wonderful people, and her son LOVED his great grandparents. I mean LOVED them deeply.
So, as I thought about the service Saturday my meditation included the reference to the mustard seed. We never know how the seed of faith will blossom, but I felt that the Holy Spirit was guiding me to affirm that Andrew was now part of the great cloud of witnesses and I have continued to affirm with my friend Tracy that she will see her son again. One of the most powerful moments in the service Saturday came when Tracy bravely stood at the lectern and shared with a full chapel of people the struggles her son faced with mental health and named the fact that Andrew did not see any other way out than death by suicide.
She encouraged all in attendance to seek help if they were struggling with mental health, to reach out if they were having thoughts of suicide, and most of all know that they are loved. This has been a tough week, but the Holy Spirit has been present, and prayers have surrounded my high school classmates as we have journeyed together.
--Rev. Jeff Goetzinger
Little River First/Mitchell Chapel
Prayer for Reflection
God of all peoples, we pray for those struggling with mental health, we pray for those that feel there is no other solution. God in your peace may you connect all people that are struggling with someone that will support, help, love, and care for them. Guide us to continue to help one another in any way. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
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