Archive for April, 2009

Swine Flu and Faith Communities

My friends at HopeandHealing.org have compiled articles related to swine flu and what the faith community can do. Be sure to take a look at Churches Respond to Swine Flu.

You can also find a good link the CDC’s swine flu site from an earlier post on this blog.

Easter 4 – Acts 4:8-10

From Acts 4:8-10 – Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead.”

In verses prior to these, Peter had healed a crippled man who would sit at a gate to the Temple and beg for money from those entering. Healing was an integral part of the Apostles’ ministry as it was in Jesus’. Yet, the acts of healing were also seen as radical and disruptive to the religious authorities of the time. Those of us in the faith and health movement continue to find ways to practice this radical hospitality toward our brothers and sisters today.

Prayer:

Healer God, may we be healing presences to those who come before us today. AMEN.

Easter 4 – 1 John 3:17-18

1 John 3:17-18 – How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses to help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.

1 John 3:18 is one of my favorite passages first introduced to me twenty years ago. For me, it is simply not enough to believe. Our faith should change us…make us act differently toward one another.

Prayer:

Loving God, as we grapple with our faith, help us see our neighbor in a new light, as a child of God. AMEN.

Did You Know? Table – May

This is the second month of providing you with ideas for your own congregation’s Did You Know? table. This is a simple and effective way any congregation can get out needed health information to the members of its faith community. You can check out my introductory post as well as the post for April. Simply check out the Did You Know? Tables category.

May is:

Mental Health Month: The site Mental Health Ministries offers a wide range of fact and information sheets and bulletin inserts that you may print out and share with your faith community. The National Alliance on Mental Illness supports FaithNet, which includes an explanation of eight steps a congregation should follow when establishing a ministry to those with mental illness.

American Stroke Month: While stroke can affect any of us, it is a health disparity in the African American community. This link to the National Stroke Association offers good information for your table including a High Blood Pressure Fact Sheet and brochure on reducing stroke in African Americans. You can also find NSA’s home page from this link. You can also find good information from the American Heart Association.

Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month: I wrote a reflection for HopeandHealing.org last month on asthma as a part of that sites Earth Day observance. If you haven’t already, I hope you will read, “Think Earth Day, Act Locally.” Asthma Answers Online offers a helpful fact sheet, and based in Atlanta, Not One More Life partners with communities of faith to bring asthma education and awareness to people where they worship.

Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month: With the arrival of summer, it is time for all of us to be reminded about skin cancer. Fact sheets are available from both the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Melanoma Foundation.

There are many other obervances in May which may affect members of your faith community including National Arthritis Awareness Month, National Celiac Disease Awareness Month, and Lupus Awareness Month.

Good luck with your Did You Know? table in May.

Easter 4 – 1 John 3:16

From 1 John 3:16 – We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.

Would you die for a member of your family? I know many of you would immediately say, “Of course!.” But would you die for your neighbor? Consider today what it means to live sacrificially toward your neighbor, especially the neighbor who is actually a stranger.

Prayer:

Gracious God, many people will come before us or pass by us this day. Help us see each of them with your eyes. AMEN.

Swine Flu

With the nation being brought to alert about Swine Flu, I wanted to share with my readers the website from the Centers for Disease Control which gives numerous links to additional information and prevention tips. Congregations are wonderful places to disseminate reliable health information. As public spaces, congregations must also be mindful of ways to minimize the potential spread of diseases such as Swine Flu.

You should also check out my more recent post on churches responding to swine flu.

Easter 4 – Psalm 23:1-2

We are approaching the fourth Sunday of this Easter season. The lectionary selections for this week include: Acts 4:5-12; Psalm 23; 1 John 3:16-24 and John 10:11-18.

From Psalm 23:1-2 – The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters…

I bet most of you reading the first two verses of Psalm 23 went ahead and completed it by saying the other four verses to yourself. If praying publicly or if someone asking you to pray for them makes you nervous or uncomfortable, consider simply using the 23rd Psalm as your prayer. It is a wonderful prayer for many situations.

Prayer:

Almighty God, help me this and every day to be a better shepherd for my brothers and sisters. AMEN.


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