Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. As I take a breath and turn my focus to this devotion, I reflect on this week’s worship theme, “Reach Out In Faith”. The scripture that comes to mind immediately is the story of the woman who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years. “ Just then a woman who had hemorrhaged for twelve years slipped in from behind and lightly touched his robe. She was thinking to herself, “If I can just put a finger on his robe, I’ll get well.” Jesus turned—caught her at it. Then he reassured her: “Courage, daughter. You took a risk of faith, and now you’re well.” The woman was well from then on.” (Matthew 9:20-22, The Message) How do we relate this to our lives today?”
There are so many examples of people who came to Jesus, reaching out in faith. Have you ever found yourself reaching out in faith to Jesus? Were you sick and needing healing? Or were you facing a situation where you reached out in faith asking for help? What were the outcomes?
How about when others need assistance? Who do you respond to? There are many on the street corners holding up a sign, asking for help. Do you reach out in faith to help? Do you find more comfort when others’ lives seem to align with yours? When an unknown visitor walks into your congregation, do you automatically reach out in welcome? What if the person comes in with a plastic bag or three of their belongings and they obviously haven’t taken a shower in days or weeks? Wouldn’t this also be an act of reaching out in faith? Who do you invite to go to lunch with you after church?
Who are the “sinners” that our society rejects? Do we blame people for their lack of resources? Do we blame the homeless for their homelessness? Are there people in your life’s sphere that suffer mental illness? How can you help? They may need professional help, but they also need your acceptance. They need to feel they are a person of worth. How would Jesus treat those people today? Do our actions show that we are truly followers of Jesus?
One winter season I was working at a homeless shelter dishing up plates of food. At first, the many faces going through the dinner line were quiet, politely responding when I greeted them. On the third day, their responses were more personal about their lives. They recognized me and felt more comfortable about sharing. They began to feel their answers mattered, and I learned how one was trying to drive across several states to get to family but his car broke down and he had no money to get it fixed. A couple men were jobless and working on getting their GED so they could find better work opportunities. I volunteered to tutor them with English grammar, and, in appreciation, they insisted on walking me to my car to ensure my safety. We mattered to each other.
Reach out in faith. Then reach out again, and again. Jesus continued his ministry with those who were poor, marginalized, and rejected. The Worth of All People is one of Community of Christ’s Enduring Principles, in addition to Unity in Diversity and Blessings of Community. As followers of Jesus, we apply what we learned from his example – these are enduring principles for all of us to live by. Live the active life as followers of Jesus, the Peaceful One.
(Author: Bonnie Barber)
Various authors throughout the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center and beyond provide these thought-provoking weekly devotions.