CCC Blog

Holy Interruptions

I’m thinking this week about an event that happened in Jesus’ life and is recorded in John 4.  It’s a rather long story of a Samaritan woman who meets Jesus at a well.  She comes to the well at noon.  Jesus is there and they have a long conversation over many verses.  At the end of it, she leaves her water jug at the well – empty – and goes home.  And... she becomes a great evangelist for Jesus because, through that conversation, she becomes a convert.  She believes in him as she didn’t before.  And many people come to believe in Jesus because of her testimony. 

The classical interpretation of this event is that she left her water jar – empty and at the well – because she didn’t need it anymore.  She came looking for “running” water, but she left having received the “living” water – Jesus the Christ!  As Jesus would say just 2 chapters later, “Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” 


But I would like to think about this story in this way today. 


This woman came to the well with a plan in mind.  A definite plan.  An agenda.  She was there to get water.  But she was not so focused on that plan that she was unable to be interrupted by the holy encounter that Jesus offered.  She was not held captive by her agenda so much that she missed the God who was right in front of her.


There are many of us who fill our days with activity.  We are busy; on the move.  We have things to do and if we have a free moment, we’ll find something else to do.  We live our lives by a schedule; a plan; an agenda for the day.  This is, in some ways, a gift.  If not for this kind of busy-ness, many wonderful things wouldn’t get done.  And yet, there is a dark side to this kind of living as well.  And that is that we may miss the ways that God might be trying to intervene and “holy interrupt” our day with a divine encounter that we desperately need.


Those that know me well know that I’m “preaching to the choir” on this one.  But I have to think I am not entirely alone.  And so I’d like to remind those of you who, like me, are prone to busy-ness, that the season of Lent is an invitation to us to slow down; to allow God to break in to the schedule that we so otherwise adequately keep.  So that we may not miss the holy gifts God.

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Scripture for Anxious Moments

Last Sunday in worship, we asked everyone to think about what scriptures they turn to when they’re feeling anxious or stressed.  We asked this during the announcement time as a way of “getting into” the theme of the message that was to come.

At our 9:15 service, there is a very active live-chat going on during worship and last week worshippers typed in their answers to that question in to the chat.  The response was so good we wanted to share with everyone.  Please use these scriptures if they help you in your own times of stress and chaos.  Blessings on your day...


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Thoughts on Prayer

The devotional book I’m using for my morning meditations is a Jesuit publication.  One of the submissions – that I happened to read this week – was provided by a Belgian Jesuit, Nikolaas Sintobin, SJ.  He shared some thoughts about prayer, which I wanted to share with you here.  Many of us wonder how best to pray; or if there is a “right” way to pray; or feel pressure when they pray.  While Sintobin’s words are not the be-all, end-all when it comes to prayer, I found them helpful and encouraging.  I hope you feel similarly. 



For the Christian, prayer is about the relationship with God, and in particular with Jesus.  It is our deepest opening to God.  It is to listen to him in his presence.  To pray is to be loved by him and to speak to him in confidence.  In prayer, all masks and facades can be removed.  God can come to us – truly come to us – when we are willing to be known as we are.


One time we may be happy, the next we may be sad.  It is possible that we are angry... with God or with another human being.  Whatever our emotions, we can express them to God in prayer. 


Prayer is not inborn.  It is something we can learn.  Fortunately, we don’t have to invent it all by ourselves.  Christians have been praying for two thousand years, so a lot of know-how has been developed already.  If you are looking for what can help you pray, it is good to let yourself be inspired by that thought. 


It stands to reason, then, that there are as many different ways of praying as there are people. 

Some people like to pray with texts, whether from the bible or not. 

Others like to pray without words. 

Some like to pray alone. 

Others like to pray in groups and prayer circles. 

Some prefer to pray in a quiet place. 

Others don’t mind the hustle and bustle. 

Some like to pray for along time, others much shorter. 


A good way of praying is a way that, at the moment, helps you live more connected with God.  And even this might change over time.  What helps you get to God one day may not work as well on another.  That is not strange.  So do not dismay if that happens to you.   


For there are as many different ways of praying as there are people.  And a good way of praying is a way that, at the moment, helps you live more connected with God.

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Holiness in Red

Holiness in Red

A gift appeared out my window this morning

A cardinal came to visit



Nearly every day I take up this place for morning devotions he is there perched atop the brown entanglement of dormant lilac branches

against the backdrop of equally-drab pillars of oak and maple

leaning in the same direction as though trudging off in search of warmer weather

limbs devoid of their green leaves

which have long since gone into hibernation


If I’m lucky, I’ll “catch” him

For if I stare out the window looking for him, he is not there

Only when I resume my activity - and suddenly look up - can I hope to see him

showing off a splash of vibrant crimson

as if to revel in the attention he knows I’m giving him

As long as I stop what I’m doing and admire him he remains in all his regal dignity


More than once, I have reached for my phone – slowly, carefully, quietly –

hoping to record his presence for my own future enjoyment

But every time

as if sensing my movement through the glass barrier that separates us

off he flutters

We play this game regularly, he and I, and he is usually the victor


Once I did it though! 

I clicked at just the right time to provide proof of his elusive presence

Yet when I opened the photo app, I dejectedly pressed delete

Nothing of the majesty and beauty recorded in my mind and memory was present there


So... I will resume my position in this rocker again

And I’ll settle for watching and waiting

for his next appearance

For he is out there

just beyond the edges of my view

of this I am sure

Preparing to take up his familiar perch

Among the barrenness and brokenness that is my view

And bringing to them his uniquely creative burst of crimson


Perhaps I will “catch him” again


Michael E. Karunas

Monday, January 18


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