Dear Friends and Family:
Happy New Year! And of course we wish you a really Blessed 2020 with many new doors opening by the Lord.
December seemed to happen very quickly this year, perhaps because things just kept popping up that needed to be done.
Michael had a surprise phone call asking him at 9:30 on Boxing day morning to undertake a marriage at 1:00 that day at the hospital he volunteers at. Christine has developed a lot of new women friends in Christ and was invited to several Christmas parties by them. We managed to receive a day of generational healing prayer, at Christian Healing Ministries in Jacksonville, which was a powerful Blessing. Michael had one memorial service and five other services at Freedom Village to lead and preach. On top of all that we made it to Art Basel Miami to see what was cooking in the art world.
Christine completed a commission of St Francis and the Wolf of Lubbio which came out beautifully. She has been diligently focused on drawing skills and it is really bearing beautiful fruit in her icons. This month she will have a one evening show of her icons at a prestigious carpet gallery in downtown Sarasota called ‘Art to Walk On’ on January 24th and has been preparing a variety of icons for that. It is going to be stunning.
Politics and the love of Christ
Of course we have to bring up what happened this December with the impeachment of the President of the United States. It is almost like the ‘Emperor has no clothes on’ within Christian circles because it is hard to talk about. As so much division has happened within the body of Christ, much of which seemingly slipped into following a political spirit rather than holding to the Holy Spirit; the evangelical right regarded Donald Trump as a savior, regardless of his overtly unchristian persona. ‘Christianity Today’, had the fortitude to really question whether the President should be given carte blanche by Christians. We continue to pray that God will provide good leadership for this country, today and in the years to come.
Each month Michael writes an article for the Freedom Village Newsletter, ‘The Crier’ and last month it was about ‘Holding Hands.’
He is adding it below, because it could be extrapolated to the situation our country finds itself in. It is a piece on small steps of faith that can lead to larger changes through unity. Jesus said a house divided cannot stand. How do we bridge the gap of extreme division within this country before it is led to tyranny?
How to return to relying on the Holy Spirit’s guidance and not a spirit of politics within Christian living.
As 2020 opens there needs to be some deep searching for truth in our prayers as to who we are following, Jesus Christ or partisan politics. I pray that each side of this deep divide can reach out to touch the other and heal.
We all know what it means to hold hands with someone we love, someone special to us. A spouse or one of our own children. Holding hands is a way in personal relationships we can express trust, comfort, fondness, togetherness and love.
But what about when we hold hands with someone we do not know so well, maybe someone we are visiting and want to show a sign of support for what they are going through, perhaps they are ill or experienced a loss recently. That can take a step of faith to put your hands out for someone who may not know you. The actual activity of sharing another person’s hands results scientifically in the release of oxytocin in our bodies giving us a feeling of safety and warmth.
I remember as a child walking through the streets of Enugu, a town in Nigeria where I spent several years, people would just touch you as you walked past. It was culturally normal that touch would happen between people, even strangers on the streets. To us in a ‘Western mindset’ this seems very intrusive, we prefer to keep an invisible barrier around us that other people stay out of. We would hate being touched by people as they walked past us on the streets, by hands held to out to the sides so there was a connection as one passed. This very simple gesture was a way of connecting, a way of placing oneself in the present and acknowledging all life around us as we travel through it.
We find in the scriptures that Jesus throughout his ministry would touch people as he was healing them. We also know that people would try to touch him in the crowd or even just his garment; Mark 3:10, is a good example.
‘for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him.’
When Jesus was touching people there was a transference of power by the Holy Spirit to heal. That is why I believe when people come together to support or even pray for others, holding hands is a wonderful way to bring us all closer together, as we present ourselves and our concerns to God.
Let us continue to gather as lovers of Christ and hold hands as we pray for our country, our world, and each other in the year ahead.
Sending love, prayers, and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year!
Christine and Michael