Daily Devotion for Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Daily Devotions this week will focus on the seven miracle-signs in the Gospel of John:  The Wedding at Cana, Healing of the Capernaum Boy, Healing at Bethesda, Feeding the 5000, Walking on Water, Healing the Blind Man, Raising of Lazarus. 

Today’s reflection about the Healing at Bethesda was written by Pastor Joe.
Today’s anthem was selected by Angie Rader.

Each day at noon, we Virginia United Methodists are praying for healing in our homes, communities, and in the world.

Email me your gratitudes to be included in upcoming devotions!  

This devotion can be read aloud or silently.  If you have more than one person in your home today, you can divide the parts (men and women, or adults and children, or one person and many).

CALL TO WORSHIP (From Psalm 34)
   I will bless the Lord at all times—
     praise will continually be in my mouth.
   My soul shall rejoice in the Lord;
     let the humble hear it and rejoice.
   Come, glorify our God with me.
     Let’s exalt God’s name together!

     God of Healing and Hope,
        we pray for Your courage and strength to be with us.
     When we recognize injustice, guide us to speak out.

     When we see oppression,
        lead us to be in solidarity with the oppressed.

     When we hear the cries of the marginalized and the outcast,
        call us into accountability to amplify those voices.
     We know You are always present with us. 
     May we be always present with those in need.
     May we do our part to share in Your love, healing,
        and hope in this world. Amen.


ANTHEM                           Healing at the Fountain
                                       Music by Penny Rodriguez
                                        Text by Fanny J. Crosby
                                     (Tap the link below.  Audio only)


There is healing at the fountain,
Come and find it, weary soul.

There your sins may all be covered;
Jesus waits to make you whole.

There is healing at the fountain,
Look to Jesus and live.
At the cross lay down your burden;
all your wanderings He’ll forgive.

Oh the fountain, healing fountain, Come and find it, weary soul.
There your sins may all be covered;
Jesus waits to make you whole.
There is healing at the fountain,
Come and plunge beneath its flood.

Come, oh, Come, the Savior calls you,
every hurt, He’s understood.

Oh, the fountain, the healing fountain!
I’m so glad it’s flowing free;
Oh the fountain, precious fountain, praise the Lord, praise the Lord.
It cleanses me!

SCRIPTURE     John 5:1-9
     After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Bethesda, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed.
    One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
     The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” 
     Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.”
     At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. 

REFLECTION by Rev. Joe Cailles
     Thirty-eight years is a long time to sit on a mat and wait for a healing!  And yet, after a conversation with Jesus that would have taken less than 38 seconds to complete, the man is instantly healed and walks away.  
     We’ve been homebound for just over two weeks now, though there have been some days that seem to stretch out for years.  Paradoxically, I am finding that time seems to be in very short supply when I’m trying to get my work done.   
     We today don’t know how much longer we’re going to be sitting on our mats, waiting for our worldwide healing.  Donald K. McKim, a theologian and author, writes that this third miracle-sign of Jesus in the Gospel of John reminds us of three truths about Jesus and his will for us as we wait.

      (1)     Jesus wants us to be made well.  
      It matters to Jesus that all of us live well: physically, spiritually, and emotionally. This is the second healing miracle in John’s Gospel, but unlike the royal official’s son, this poor guy has no family or anyone advocating for him.  He doesn’t even seem to have any friends who will help him to the healing pool.  What matters to Jesus is not his status but that the man is made well.  The man’s healing is a miracle for him personally and a sign for us that the well-being of others, whoever they are, is important to Jesus.  And if the well-being of others is important to Jesus, then it’s important for us.  We United Methodists care about providing physical, spiritual, and emotional needs for as many as we can, in all the ways we can, for as long as we can.

     (2)     Jesus can make us well in ways we do not expect.
     The man just knew in his heart that if he could only get to the Bethesda water, he would be made well.  Perhaps he thought that the Bethesda waters were the only way he would be made well.  We get caught in that trap too.  “If only I had this…” “If only this would happen for me….”   Jesus heals the man, not with the water as the man expected, but through the words of The Word. These are the days we look for Jesus, who is The Word of God, healing us and moving through us in new, unexpected ways!  

     (3)    Jesus can make us well, even if we have to wait.
     Darn it!  Sometimes we wait for the healing.  Sometimes we have to wait for the unexpected miracle.  Two weeks, two months, two years (Lord, have mercy!) may pass.  I’ve written before, waiting is not passive.  We pray as we wait.  We help neighbors and strangers alike as wait.  We believe, even as we wait, that healing from God is coming, though we know neither the hour nor the day nor the form.  Some healing will be in this life.  Our final healing will be in the resurrected life to come.

Thanks be to God!  

Joyce Hawkins offers prayers of thanksgiving for the improving health of her grandson Dustin, 27, who remains hospitalized in South Carolina

Debbie Baron’s gratitudes:
-A most beautiful Spring and the time to slow down and enjoy it
-Hearing the Virginia Peepers last night letting us know Spring was really here
-Family and friends that remain safe and healthy

Healing God,
Keep us in your church focused on the mission and ministry of care and compassion to which you have called us.
We pray for Trinity and for all congregations.
(silent prayer)
Lord in your mercy, Hear our Prayer

Healing God,  
Bless our neighbors and strangers alike with peace,
and patience, and perseverance. 
We pray for the communities and the people
where we live and work and study and play.
(silent prayer)
Lord in your mercy, Hear our Prayer

Healing God,
Guide our leaders and those of other nations
that this world might truly be as you created it to be
—a world of peace, hope and love.
We pray for our country and for all people in the world.
(silent prayer)
Lord in your mercy, Hear our Prayer

In this silence, we pray to you our own joys and concerns,
and we listen to your guidance for us.
(silent prayer)
Lord in your mercy, Hear our Prayer
And we pray together the prayer Jesus teaches us,
     Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
     Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
         on earth as it is in heaven.
      Give us this day our daily bread,
         and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those
         who trespass against us.
      And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
      For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever.
     The Lord who cares for all, bless and keep you.
     The face of the Lord who heals all,
        shine upon you and be gracious to you; 
     The light of the Lord who redeems our lives,
        be lifted upon you and give you peace. Amen.


OPENING PRAYER written by Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell,
                                 at www.rev-o-lution.org.