Sunday, March 26, 2017

Fourth Sunday, March 26

 But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior … Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you.            
Selections from Isaiah 43:1-5

Some memories from childhood make such lasting impressions.  When I was around ten or eleven years old, I saw a television program with a woman in a choir robe. She stood before one of those painted stained glass church windows movie sets. She had a page boy hair style.  She sang with such clarity and conviction, “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth.”
At the time I didn’t know that this moving music was an aria from Handel’s Messiah.  Nor was I aware that the phrase came from Job 19:25.
But I vividly remember how I wondered, “How does she know her Redeemer?” “ How does she experience the way that her Redeemer lives in her everyday life?”
This has been a perennial question that’s stayed with me throughout these years. So, how do people know that their Redeemer lives???
Over the years, I’ve found that this assurance can come in a variety of ways.
I know that My Redeemer lives when I see children in foster care find their forever families—and experience people’s lives redeemed in tangible, everyday ways.
Our worship services are filled with meaningful scriptures, prayers, sermons, moments for mission. All witness to the reality that Our Redeemer lives!
In those quiet, solitary times of prayer, I sense the Presence of our Redeemer who lives in ways so beyond my understanding.
I know that my Redeemer lives when I hear or read scriptures like “Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name.” (Isaiah 43:1-5)
And, I know that my Redeemer lives when my heart, mind and soul are moved by the music and words of hymns—especially as sung together by our congregation like, “I Sing of Love Unknown, My Savior’s Love to Me”.. or ”Love Divine, all Love’s Excelling, Joy of Heaven to Earth Come Down..”  During some Sunday mornings, I stop singing to hear these words come from all the others around us.  Such faith is contagious!

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer (Psalm 19:4)

Kate Thoresen, Parish Associate, Foster/Adoptive Families Partnerships