Daily Reflection
January 14th, 2003
Daniel Patrick O'Reilly
Registrar's Office
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Hebrews 2:5-12
Psalm 8:2ab and 5, 6-7, 8-9
Mark 1:21-28

Today's scripture readings are an interesting mixed bag.  In Hebrews and the Psalms, the question is presented "What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man that you care for him?"  Hebrews answers "that he, for whom and through whom all things exist" is not ashamed to calls us "brothers."  The story in Matthew shows Jesus taking the time to teach people and drive an evil spirit out of a man.  These things have always amazed me.  God is the creator of the universe, the author of everything that has gone before and that is to come.  The Alpha and the Omega.  And yet God is willing to listen to my problems and cares how my day has gone.  It seems impossible.  And yet this is the model that Jesus presents.

I met Jana about seven years ago through church.  She is very active in the church.  She reads scripture at services, sings in the choir, puts together bulletins for Sunday and writes a monthly column for the church newsletter.  Jana is a fascinating, unusual and blessed woman.  In 1983, Jana was involved in a car-train accident that resulted in a severe head injury.  She will be in recovery, physical rehabilitation and speech therapy for the rest of her life.  Jana walks with a pronounced limp.  Speech is a struggle for her.  She has a deep, raspy voice that struggles over each word.  I'm sure that many people who meet Jana for the first time are shocked.  Especially if they have read her wonderful and witty columns.  Jana realized early on that she was faced with a choice.  Would she let her handicap or God's calling dictate her life?  She had to choose between service or retreating into a cocoon.  Jana is a woman with a heart for God.  She chose service.

Several years ago, I served on the committee that reads scripture for Sunday morning services.  Jana approached us saying she would like to try.  My initial reaction was that this was a really bad idea.  How would the congregation react?  How would Jana handle rejection or embarrassment?  Jana insisted that she felt a calling to do this.  She would work extra duty with the speech therapist.  Well, the morning for Jana's scripture reading finally came.  I don't know that I was as nervous as Jana, but it was probably close.  I held my breath as Jana opened the Bible.  No, it wasn't Pavarati or James Earl Jones, but it was wonderful.  It was an incredibly touching and moving moment in my life.  What a humbling lesson for me.  Me, who doesn't mind serving God as long as it doesn't take me outside of my comfort zone.  Recently my senior pastor was diagnosed with an incurable cancer.  Guess who was there to offer him sympathy and comfort?  Guess who was the one to challenge him about following his call versus the illness' dictates?  Jana.  It's always amazing how God uses people to accomplish His will.  People are placed in our path and God uses them to mold our lives.  As the Psalmist says, "what is man that you are mindful of him?"  And yet day after day we see God's love for us.

I give thanks for the opportunity to worship a God who is awesome and personal at the same time.  My prayer is that each of us can see the face of God in the face of those God places in our lives.  You know, I feel blessed today.

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