[#pictureLent] March 19: SIGN

12 Feb 24 Think-01.jpg

By Brandy Frazier
First UMC of Winter Garden
Winter Garden, FL

First, read Isaiah 7:10-14

Signs from God are gentle, peaceful, awe-inspiring—mysterious even. They can warm the soul, while igniting a catalytic spark toward wisdom, connecting the head and the heart. Signs from our Creator expose much of the great love and truth that God has—and wants—for us. These mystical manifestations can contribute to our growth into who God would have us
be, if we’d but prayerfully, with sacred veneration, peel back the layers of the wonder that is the
glory of God.

It’s my belief that signs from God are invariably around us—growth and knowledge at our disposal. Yet, in our human weakness, we’re so often engaged in the chaos of the day to day, that we’re not always tuned in to the Spirit, therefore opportunities for worship pass us by.

There have been many seasons in my life when I’ve been aware of my faith, and, painfully, my
lack of faith—usually simultaneously. During these seasons, I find myself praying often, “Lord, I
believe. Help my unbelief!” And instead of God being a father who’s exasperated by his tedious,
overthinking dunce-of-a-child, he is one who—when hearing his beloved cry out in uncertainty,
searching for that which will bring peace—finds great joy in revealing his true nature.

In the sign of choosing young Mary to conceive and bear the Son, we can begin to understand
the character of God. God could have come in any way, but God chose not an entrance into earthly form via some expression of grandeur. No, even the first news of God coming into the world as human—a form that we could undeniably relate to—came with decided innocence, vulnerability, and humility. To think of what Mary, and of course, Joseph, must have gone through—their internal struggles and the feared reaction of those surrounding them—helps us to see that God doesn’t expect perfection of our lives, and understands the trials that we face.

It is through being in vulnerable relationship with our Christ, that we can come to understand the
nature of God, and come to know God's will for us. We don’t necessarily need to ask for a sign,
though we certainly may. If we simply strive to open our hearts and minds to God's presence, God
will open our eyes to the truth, compassion, and love that is Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.

O, Great Spirit of God in Christ, come and breathe new life in us and around us. Let us be more
aware of your presence, as we seek to be in deeper relationship with you, recognizing the signs
of you all around. Help us to become the people you created us to be and to love others as you
love us.

Questions for Discussion/Reflection:

1. In choosing Mary to conceive and bear the Son, what about the true nature of God do
you see revealed?
2. What signs has God given you, which reveal God's character, in good times and in difficult
times?
3. In what ways can understanding God’s character help us to be in relationship with one
another?