John's Resurrection Compendium: Scents and Sent

Each week Pastor Sarah offers a devotional reflection to connect with the South Shore UMC Family. Use this entry as a way to prepare your heart and mind for worship. See you Sunday!

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Sunday’s Scripture ~ John 20:19-23.


Devotional Scripture ~ Mark 11:23-24.


Earlier this week I was cleaning ‘the Holy Week Aftermath’ in the Worship Center when I heard a soft knock at the front door. I opened it and welcomed in a woman in tears. She asked if she could pray.


I walked with her into the Worship Center and invited her to make herself comfortable. I introduced myself, and then shared where I would be in the facility should she need anything. She said, “This is awkward to ask, but would you pray with me?” I lightly chuckled and asked her why she thought that an awkward request. “Well,” she said, “I’m scared. And sick. And I don’t know what else to do...and God led me here to pray.”


“That is not awkward. You are incredibly brave and courageous.”


I listened to her story. And God led me in responses of affirmation. I affirmed her sacred worth. I affirmed her welcome in God’s sight. I affirmed her right to safety, health, and security. I acknowledged the absolutely crushing mess of her current circumstance. And I praised that she, like Mary Magdalene, chose to seek God ‘while it was still dark’ - which was and is evidence of her relationship with God through amazing grace.


We prayed together in the spirit of this week’s devotional scripture text. In our conversation she named a number of ‘elephant’ prayers - for spiritual, physical, emotional, financial, and relational health. She shared that in recent days she has felt the movement of ‘carrying the weight of the world on her back’ to ‘carrying the weight of the world in her heart.’ Her words and description of that experience resonated with me so deeply. And when I shared that with her, even behind her awesome Harry Potter mask, I could see her smile the smile that rejoices, ‘someone sees me, hears me, and understands me.’


I told her that when we feel like our feet are on shifting sand, we can be afraid to step in any direction. Which leaves us in the same place. And that stagnancy is life-threatening and spirit-depleting. It can be incredibly frightening to step forward in faith not knowing where our feet will fall and to ask for the deepest desires of our hearts wondering if they will be answered. Nevertheless, our Jesus says, “If you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”


Ask. Answers to impossible prayers await us.


The only delay in receiving is our delay in asking.


Please join in me prayers for N this week. And if you have an impossible prayer you would like me to pray for, please email me via sarah@southshoreumc.com.


Reflection: Write out the prayers that are on your heart this week, for yourself and for others. Then pray aloud, believing you have already received what you prayed for, even if you cannot see those answers yet.


Prayer: “Something beautiful, something good; all my confusion he understood; all I had to offer him was brokenness and strive, but he made something. beautiful of my life.”* Amen.


*”Something Beautiful,” The United Methodist Hymnal 394.

**Devotional Resource: The Weekly Prayer Project by Scarlet Hiltibidal