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"Lift Up Your Eyes"

I was all alone in the Big Red Church on Friday morning. It took me some time to set up for the recording. This while thinking of how I could bring forward some insights helpful in these times of challenge. When all was set up I turned on the camera and started to record. That recording is posted just below this brief note. It includes some reflections on our present times, a few songs and a message about light shining in the darkness. The key being lifting up our eyes to notice the presence of God at the heart of all circumstance. It is my prayer that you will be blessed by the spirit as you listen.

The texts on which the service is based are:

Psalm 123 / 1 Thessalonians 5:1-5 / Matthew 14:13-27 The Psalm begins with looking to God who is present in the heavens. This is followed by images of servants looking up their masters. In this way we look to God in the hope of deliverance from the oppression of those who rule over us. Reading the Psalm brings to mind the longing of God's people to be liberated from their captivity in Egypt. Thessalonians speaks of the historical moment and the anticipation of the Lord's coming. That coming is compared to the coming of a thief in the night. People around us will think that they are secure. They will be surprised by the sudden fall of the established order. We are then reminded that God is our light and the darkness of the time has no power over us. Matthew presents Jesus among the people. He tries to find a time of solitude but the crowds follow him. Seeing the crowd gathered around him Jesus begins to act compassionately. This includes making well those who are not well. As evening approaches the disciples encourage Jesus to send the people back to their villages to get food. Jesus responds by saying that the disciples should feed the crowd. They confess that they have only a very small amount of food. Jesus takes this small bit of food and blesses it with prayer. Then he took the food and gave it to the disciples to give to the crowd. When all the people had been fed there were twelve baskets of food left over. The number of people fed was over five thousand. Then Jesus instructs the disciples to get into a boat and cross the water. He then sends the crowds to their homes and goes up a mountain to pray. In the mean while the disciples in the boat are being blown about by strong winds. They are worried and then they see Jesus walking across the water and towards their boat. They think it is a ghost. Jesus assures them by affirming his presence among them and casting out their fear.

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