This week Rev. Holly MillerShank is concluding a year of service as the Interim Associate Conference Minister for the Northeast and Metropolitan Boston Associations.
Reference Song: Give Me Jesus (Spiritual)
Give me Jesus, give me Jesus.
You may have all this world, give me Jesus.
Reflection: Give Me Jesus
I’ve had an earworm for the past several weeks, not the kind that needs medical attention, the kind of short tune or phrase that keeps spontaneously surfacing. For me it’s not the whole spiritual or even a full verse but the refrain “Give me Jesus.”
It’s become a bit of a prayer mantra and I’m fairly sure that it is speaking to a much deeper need within my soul. I need Jesus. If I were to take a deeper dive into my subconscious I think this longing is part of how I am experiencing a post (or almost post) COVID world.
In Jesus, the Divine did the unthinkable of taking on human flesh in the form of a vulnerable child. In Jesus, the Divine did the equally audacious act of sacrificing that same fleshy form upon a cross. Our liturgical hinge points of Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter focus on the bodily acts of our Savior. Our shared sacrament of communion too reminds us of the centrality of the tactile nature of Christ’s ministry.
This longing for the presence of Jesus is both a longing for the sense-driven aspects of communal worship: the reverberation of the organ, the heft of the pews, the familiar smells of altar flowers and dog-eared hymnals, the taste of the cup, the sun arching through stained glass… and a longing for Jesus himself. I’m hungry not only for the broken bread of a common loaf but hungry for the daily embodiment of Jesus in my life and in the world.
We get a lot of God talk, I get it; it’s more universal, gender expansive, it helps us bridge ecumenical and interfaith divides. I need God. But I also need Jesus. I need to know Jesus not just in an intellectual or aspirational way, I need to know Jesus in the pulsing of my veins, in the mitochondria of my cells, in the depth of my diaphragm. I need the lived experience of my faith to be shared with the one who took on human form who reminded the world that love and justice are not abstract or hypothetical but physically demonstrative.
After 18+ months of physical distancing I want to make my spiritual distancing from Jesus a whole lot less that 6 feet. I want to feel his yoke upon my shoulders, his wounds with my fingers, to smell the sea-salt on his garments- Give me Jesus-In the morning when I rise- Give me Jesus- His love eternal as the skies- Give me Jesus- as I lay to close my eyes- Give me Jesus.
Closing prayer from the words of Evangelical and Reformed Pastor Rev. Henry Harbaugh in his 1850 hymn “Jesus I Live to Thee” based in part from the First Question of the Heidelberg Catechism:
Jesus, I live to thee, the loveliest and best; my life in thee, thy life in me, in thy blest love I rest.
Jesus I die to thee, whenever death shall come; to die in thee is life to me, in my eternal home.
Whether to live or die, I know not which is best; to live in thee is bless to me, to die is endless rest.
Living or dying Lord, I ask but to be thine, my life in thee, thy life in me, makes heaven forever mine.
New Prayer Requests:
We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayers of Intercession:
- For the victims and their families of the 389 mass shootings already carried out in 2021
- For nations all over the world unusual weather patterns continue to create violent storms causing massive flooding, mudslides, and wildfires
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For the opportunity to watch the hundreds of athletes who have gathered in Tokyo for the Olympic Games
- For colleagues who gather in fellowship, not just for work
This Week in History:
July 27, 1921 (100 years ago) Two Canadian scientists from the University of Toronto, Frederick Banting and Charles Best, isolate insulin for the first time. Diabetes, a condition recognized for more than 3000 years, is caused by a malfunction in the digestive system that causes blood sugar levels to rise. The successful isolation of insulin allowed patients to be injected with the hormone which helps balance blood sugar levels. The University of Toronto gave companies the license to produce insulin free of royalties. Today insulin can sell for as high as $1800 per 20mL vial. Costs of insulin to patients have increased dramatically in just the last 10 years according to the Mayo Clinic.
“Study the past if you would define the future.”