When I first became a follower of Christ, I was not very biblically literate. I had a very basic understanding of the Bible as a whole. I knew the bullet points of how we historically got to Jesus and beyond to His Church, but I’d never really read Scripture and definitely hadn’t studied it.
A lot of us start our day by playing Wordle, but do you know what WORD-will change your life? It is fun to awkwardly joke about how to connect our culture to the story of Jesus. But in reality, it’s not that hard. Christ’s life is often emulated in the stories we share and in our own lives.
I love watching movies. The experience goes beyond enjoying the story unfold before your eyes. I love the discussion that comes after the movie. Asking your friends or family what they thought can uncover what they discovered about themselves or the world from the way the movie presented its themes. I’ve spent hours in a donut diner dissecting many movies I’ve watched with friends. We usually talk about how what we saw in these movies was mind-blowing, emotional, just okay, or funny. So when my husband told me about the Faith and Film club at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, I knew I wanted to participate. Here are three things I learned while participating in this program.
The first time I heard the hymn “Thy Strong Word” (LSB 578), I was at a friend’s church choir concert. The beautiful architecture and stained glass windows combined with the multiple choral voices almost had me in tears. I heard the words “Give us lips to sing Thy glory, Tongues Thy mercy to proclaim, Throats that shout the hope that fills us, Mouths to speak Thy holy name” in a whole new way. I felt this same newness to familiar lyrics when I was visiting a church and watching a newborn get baptized while her uncles played their instruments and sang.
The summer after my freshman year of college, I worked the same job I’d had for the last three years. With this level of experience at a gift shop, I was sometimes put in charge of training new employees. These would often be girls a few years younger than me, girls I went to high school with, or people I knew from 4-H. Because of this, there were several fellow employees I knew well. This is important context for the story I’m about to tell.
I keep a relatively busy schedule and often feel like I have a lot on my plate. Some weeks it feels like my husband and I are running on several different schedules from one another, only connecting for brief moments maybe at dinner or a shared responsibility.
I was 12 when I first got my Facebook account. My parents believed it was a good way for me to stay connected to my family who all were starting to disperse across the nation. I already had an email account through a child-friendly service so my parents could access and read every email (even if it had previously been deleted). Facebook felt like my first account that had true freedom on the Internet. I could post whatever I wanted, and I could talk to any of my Facebook friends. My parents warned me not to accept anyone I didn’t know in real life and that even if the Internet seemed temporary and I could delete, posts live on forever. Soon, I was on my way.
Have you ever fully thought about God’s forgiveness? About what it means that He has forgiven us?
I’m not good at forgiveness. I hold grudges. I say I forgive but then I don’t forget. I am not slow to anger and quick to forgive. In my sinful nature, I don’t want to forgive someone easily. They need to earn my forgiveness. I am so thankful that God’s forgiveness isn’t like mine.
Forgiveness is at the heart of our relationship with Christ. Through the forgiveness won for us on the cross, we are a part of God’s family. It’s an amazing gift that we receive through the Sacraments. Here are four verses to consider when thinking about God’s forgiveness toward us.
During hard times, it can be difficult to find the energy to rejoice. It feels easier to focus on how bad everything is and to dig in your feet and say, “Nope, nothing to be joyful about here.” I am frequently guilty of this. I often take a look at what is going on in the world and, instead of bringing my worries to God, I bury myself in how bad it is. In biblical times, there were many situations where believers could have lost all hope. But God’s promises break through and turn hard times into joy.
Lately, a specific Bible passage has been popping up frequently for me. A note from a college friend, a post in a Facebook group, and a random opening of my Bible have all brought my attention to Psalm 91. I’ll be honest, the first couple of times I noticed people referencing it, I ignored it. I thought I’d look at it later; after all, there was too much to worry about for me to open my Bible. (Isn’t that always the excuse?)
But last night, I couldn’t sleep. I was tossing and turning and just wide awake. I finally decided that I had the time to read my Bible. And I knew exactly where I should turn to: Psalm 91.