Within Reach

reaching for low branch

So there I was, on a Sunday morning, coffee in hand, sermon and worship materials before me, and my elaborate camera and laptop setup. I am cool, confident, and ready to log into our various accounts to hold a ZOOM worship service. I turn on the laptop and I see that I no longer have speaker capability. I couldn’t play music, hear anyone else, or speak into even the built in microphones in front of me. I later found out that my audio driver was somehow missing or uninstalled…perhaps through the quick and crafty work of my two year old…

Luckily, there was a workaround where I could call into the worship on my phone and still have the camera on my computer running at the same time. We couldn’t sing any music that way, but it worked out fairly well. Still, the experience rattled me and I was definitely not as confident as I was before. My words were a little more stammered than usual, and I apologized frequently for the technical difficulties.

It’s amazing how one thing can change a whole system for the worse.

Another story.

Our above mentioned two year old was acting, well, like a two year old. He was kicking, yelling, crying, and-worst of all-hitting. He made me so angry that I just had to walk out of the room and let him be with mama instead. This was an ongoing pattern for that day. It had been so frustrating and it affected my mood about everything else.

After a moment, mama and two year old came out before bed time and he ran over and hugged my legs, looked up and said “kiss!” So I squatted down and kissed him. This does not always happen, and it softened my anger quite a bit.

It’s amazing how one thing can change a whole system for the better.

As people created, loved, and powered by God, we have this amazing capability to be changed and to change things even when we despair about how things seem so unchangeable. Gifts of presence, prayer, a hug and kiss, and having an audio driver installed make a difference.

I am drawn to many stories of Jesus providing healing and difference in the lives of those around him. He tells lepers to go and present themselves at the temple, he mixes spit with dirt on the ground for a man born blind, he says “your sins are forgiven.” All of these don’t involve much elaboration to bring about massive change for the people he encounters and the world around him. Jesus makes a difference and changes the system with one thing in mind: “The realm of God is within reach (Mark 1:15).”

This one thing changed everything for Jesus and for those whom Jesus encountered on the way to the cross and beyond. This one thing is meant to change the whole system in which we find ourselves. This one thing powers disciples everywhere.

As a closing reflection, if the realm of God is indeed within reach, what can this do for us here and now? How will this affect us tomorrow?

Justin Tigerman

Justin Tigerman

ELCA Pastor
Faith Lutheran Church, Caldwell, ID

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Mary Braudrick

    Your stories are so honest & relatable. Thanks for sharing & bringing out God’s truth within them, and for the challenging questions for today.

  2. Jim Grunow

    Yes, two challenging closing two questions–works to think about them both individually and communally. Thanks for this devotion, Justin.

  3. Tammie Collins

    Thank you so much. Your thoughts are very relatable.

  4. Jack Roberts

    Justin, thank you for sharing your personal thoughts many of which I believe and identify with myself. Blessings to you a nd your congregation

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