I remember growing up and watching some very silly—but delightfully entertaining for a child— movies on TV that centered on Genies and the magical mysteries of the mysterious east! “The Thief of Baghdad”, “The Flying Carpet”, or the “The 7 voyages of Sinbad” all would equally entertain us as we sat mesmerized by the fantasy that unfolded before our eyes. Now I can’t be certain but I think the magical phrase from “Arabian Nights” is featured in at least one of these films: Open Sesame! Do you remember that phrase? It would be the magical password you would need to use in order to enter the secret cave where a wonderful treasure was waiting. Open Sesame! To be opened was to reveal the secrets that lay within. To be opened was to allow the story to continue in a new and marvelous way. To be opened was the first step in a new relationship that was about to unfold. In the Gospel of Mark, there is a man who cannot hear or speak and his friends ask for him to be healed and we are told that Jesus looking up to heaven, sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. (Mark 7.33-35). It is not always by intention but we may find ourselves feeling closed off to God and the spiritual realities of our life We become so busy and overwhelmed with the fast pace of our world, and the pulls on our time and energy that we become the classic “Human Doing” versus the “Human Being” that we were made to be! So, I have some suggestions for where our lives might benefit from being ‘Opened” to God, neighbor and ourselves.
Open Our Eyes, Lord! Paul saw the light of Christ shining around him on the road to Damascus. As individuals and communities, what do we have difficulty seeing? How does our perspective change when we view the world through the eyes of Christ? Consider praying to God to help you ‘see’ as God sees the world!
Open Our Hands, Lord! We use our hands to pick up a child, to serve a meal, to play an instrument, to wipe away a tear. Jesus used his hands for healing and for deeds of great power, and the psalmist reminds us that we are always held fast in God’s hands. In Deuteronomy, Moses encourages us to open our hands in service to others. What would it mean for you to open your hands to serve God? One place to start would be to use our hands to serve one another as opposed to insisting on being served!
Open Our Ears, Lord! Ancient Greek philosophy notes that we have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. Jesus reminds us that we sometimes hear but don’t listen, listen but don’t understand. Opening our ears isn’t as easy as it sounds. Why not use this time of year to set aside an extended time of silence, listening, prayer, and meditation? Or perhaps you can try a whole day to work on listening. Don’t be worried about trying to share your opinions as much as you are about making sure you completely understand the opinions and perspectives of others! Open Our Heart, Lord! Why not join in with others to respond to a need either locally or globally.
Although we have not always opened our ears, eyes, hands, or heart to follow God, God has never withheld His love from us. Even in the worst of times He is with us and when faced with our mortality and the closeness of death, something I have had a lot of time to think about recently, nothing was more comforting then knowing that the end of my time on earth would have been the beginning of my life in heaven because of the sacrifice that Christ made for me and for you on the cross. Although we think we have lots of time and tend to take life for granted, the reality is our time on earth could end at any time. Just another reminder of why opening our eyes, ears, hands, and heart to the Lord’s leading is so important. Well I don’t know how this little exercise might change you or your life; but if those old movies were any indication, ‘to be opened’ is the beginning of a whole new adventure!
Your brother in Christ, Pastor Reed Stockman
In His service,
Pastor Reed Stockman
Every Member Visits
Members will be receiving phone calls from the Elders (Gene Pasche, Dean Meichsner or Jason Miller) to set up a time for Pastor & an Elder to stop by your home for a short visit.
If you ware in need of Pastoral care outside of office hours Pastor Stockman can be reached at 320-585-5913 or his cell phone 319-480-8927.