Psalm 136:1-3

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures for ever.

O give thanks to the God of gods,
    for his steadfast love endures for ever.

O give thanks to the Lord of lords,
    for his steadfast love endures for ever

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Intentional About Gratitude

In the Gospel of Luke, there is a brief story that takes place as Jesus and his disciples are on their way to Jerusalem. They were in an area that was occupied by Samaritans. Some Samaritans had heard that Jesus was in the area. These Samaritans were afflicted by leprosy. They set out in search of Jesus and when they found him, they begged him, “Have mercy on us.”

Jesus did not flee from the men in fear for his health. He did not hold back mercy from them because they were Samaritans and not Jews. Jesus extended mercy. He offered all ten healing and invited them to go see the priests. In the time of Jesus, it was the priest who certified healing. When they arrived at the priest…

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Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols is one of the best hitters in baseball. His hitting records are comparable to Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, and Willie Mays. There is little doubt that he will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Recently, Albert Pujols added a new award to his long list of well-deserved honors. At the 2022 ESPN “ESPY” awards, Pujols was awarded the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award. This award is given to the athlete who, “continuous, demonstrated leadership has created a measured positive impact on their community through sports.” There is no doubt that Albert Pujols has excelled on the field, but he has also helped others thrive beyond the stadium.

Albert founded the Pujols Family Foundation in 2005. The purpose of this foundation is to help the people of the Dominican Republic, his home country, and to help children and families living with Down syndrome. His daughter, Isabelle, has Down syndrome…

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Open Eyes and Hearts

I’ve always admired Diana.  She’s the oldest of my 20+ cousins and has dedicated her life to caring for others.  When I was young, she lived next door to our family, and was always so much fun!  She knew lots of card games and always had great snacks.  My siblings and I spent many happy evenings playing games or watching movies with her.

Diana was married to a church pastor, and she took her role as the pastor’s wife seriously, lovingly caring for those in their family of faith.  Both of her parents had health issues as they aged, and Diana was their caregiver, taking them to doctor appointments and making sure they were comfortable.  After both passed, Diana’s husband became ill, and she cared for him until he passed away.  Then her brother became ill, and she moved into his home to care for him until he died.  Because of her selfless care, all of them were able to remain at home almost the entire time they were ill.

Recently, Diana suffered another loss in the untimely death of her nephew, Allen, who visited her every day…

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We Need One Another

The Music Man is a bright and happy musical written by Meredith Wilson.  The show centers around Professor Harold Hill.  He claims to sell music instruments and establish marching bands.  The show begins as Professor Hill arrives in River City, Iowa, a town full of stubborn and self-sufficient people who are not welcoming to strangers, especially traveling salesmen. Professor Hill is neither a music teacher nor a salesman.  He is a con man.  The people of River City have good reason to not trust him, but love helps to overcome all the obstacles in this wonderful musical.  Eventually, Professor Hill falls in love with Marian Paroo, the local librarian and piano teacher.  It is a wonderful show with a happy ending.

The show first opened on Broadway in 1957.  It featured Robert Preston as Professor Harold Hill and Barbara Cook as Marian Paroo.  The show has been performed in theatres around the world.  It has won multiple Tony awards and has even been made into a movie, twice.  Just this past year, The Music Man was revived on Broadway.  This time Professor Harold Hill is played by Hugh Jackman and Marian Paroo is played by Sutton Foster…

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Genesis 32:24-28

And Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and Jacob’s thigh was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

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Psalm 130

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
   Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,
    more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
    for with the Lord is unfailing love
    and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
    from all their sins.

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When We Join Our Talents

I love the St. Luke’s on Broadway sermon series because I love music and the theatre. The first time I remember hearing music from a Broadway show was when I was in elementary school.  I was not in a theatre; I saw it on TV.  It was the Music Man, starring Robert Preston and Shirley Jones. I eventually recorded it on VHS and watched it over and over.  I can’t remember how many times I watched this classic musical. As I grew older, I began listening to the Broadway greats. I loved hearing Michael Crawford singing in the lead role of the Phantom of the Opera. I was mesmerized by the cast of A Chorus Line. And, of course, my favorite musical is Les Miserable, with the amazing Com Wilkinson playing the role of Jean Valjean.

As I grew older, and was able to be part of musical theatre, I quickly learned that musicals were far more than just the few popular names I knew…

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We Should Rejoice

John records the story of Jesus healing a man who was blind from birth. It is a powerful story of Jesus showing that he truly has power to bring healing and life to the world. However, the healing is not the main point of the story. It is the conversation around the healing that John is concerned about recounting.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to receive such a miracle. This had to be the greatest day of his life. It was a day worthy of celebration and a moment fit for rejoicing. However, the people around him could not celebrate, because they were only focused on themselves, their questions, and their concerns about Jesus…

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