Our next One Word is RESCUE

The word “rescue” brings to mind pivot points in the story of God’s people. Over and over again, we see God’s people come to a point when they are in danger and doom appears certain. The word “rescue” then becomes both a cry and a question: “God, rescue us!” and “Will God rescue us?” “Can God rescue us”?

Whether the danger is physical or spiritual, caused by external or internal forces, the question—“Will God rescue us?”— resounds through the pages of scripture. And then comes the pivot:

God steps in and says ,“Yes, I will rescue you,” and parts the Red Sea.

He says, “Yes, I will rescue you,” and shuts the door to the ark.

He says, “yes, I will rescue you. I know everything you’ve done that has created a gap between us that seems impossible to cross. But I’ve come to build a bridge for you and carry you myself.”

To this day, we still ask the question, “God, will you rescue us?” And his response is still, “Yes. I have come to rescue you.”

A Rescued Cake

by Angela Jones

dessert

Several years ago I was very excited to try my hand at decorating a chocolate cake. I needed a dessert for an event and I found a recipe in my cookbook called “The Perfect Chocolate Cake.” When the cakes came out of the oven, they stuck to the pan because I had forgotten to grease my pans before adding the batter. 

I was really disappointed. It was the icing on the cake, pun intended, after a long week and now I had no dessert to bring. I called my sister as tears filled my eyes and she said “Just throw the broken pieces into a bowl, add whipped cream and berries and call it a trifle!” 

So that’s what I did. I rescued the broken pieces of cake and layered them with berries, whipped cream, and frosting in a punch bowl. I’ve never gotten so many compliments on a dessert as I did that day and it has now become one of my go to desserts. 

While this story is insignificant, it does give me a picture of what the Lord can do with our broken hearts and broken world. After the fall, sin entered the world and broke our hearts individually and broke our world as a whole. The perfection that God created was torn apart. But as believers we know that’s not where the story ends. Jesus came to rescue us. To heal our broken hearts and our broken world. And now we live in the tension between the “already and the not yet.” Jesus has accomplished our rescue on the cross- death and evil have been defeated! And that work, the work of rescue, will be completed when Jesus comes again. 

So today, in the midst of so much heartache and pain and brokeness, my cry is “Come, Lord Jesus! Come and rescue us. Pick up the broken pieces and bring beauty from ashes in a way that only You can!”

Helpers

by Judith Barrett

reflection

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. ~ Psalm 121:1-2

“My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.” ~ Fred Rogers

A young college student with two small children had a scholarship that paid for tuition and books, a smaller scholarship that paid for housing, and child support that paid for food for the children and babysitting. For four years, she had a cup of soup and saltines for her lunch in the college cafeteria with the free hot water, ketchup, hot sauce, and cracker packets, but she always made sure her children were fed. She learned to live with hunger, but the Christmas break was hardest because the cafeteria was closed.

When she walked into the cafeteria toward the end of the fall semester, a young man waved at her from across the room. Curious, she approached him. She’d seen him around. He had unruly curls and a bushy beard. He wore the typical choice of clothing for agriculture majors – jeans, boots, plaid shirt, and a knife in a holster on his belt.

“The cafeteria ladies made a mistake and gave me two cheeseburgers. Care for one?” He pointed to his plate.

She joined him and bit into the juicy burger. 

When he waved at her the next day and pointed to the two cheeseburgers on a plate, she stared at him as she sat.

“Isn’t somebody going to get fired?” she asked.

He grinned and shrugged. They ate lunch, chatted, laughed, and argued every school day for the remaining three weeks of the semester. 

When Christmas break came, she steeled herself for the three weeks of starvation that was only broken when she and the children were invited to a neighbor’s Christmas party. A neighbor gave her five dollars two days before Christmas, and she bought a toy for each child.

Christmas Eve after the children were sound asleep, she lay in bed while her stomach rumbled. She shouted a prayer. “I can’t do this. I need some help. You have to send me some help.” Her shouts bounced back at her, and she cried herself to sleep.

The next morning, the children woke at first light. While they played with their new toys, a knock at the door startled her. 

The young Ag major beamed when she opened the door. “I thought you and the kids might like a pecan pie. I picked the pecans and made the pie myself.”

Look for the helpers.

 

In a CPR refresher class for Emergency Medical Technicians, the instructor said, “When you approach someone who is performing CPR solo, say I’m an EMT. I know CPR, can I help?

The seventeen students rushed to pair up, but the new Rescue Lieutenant who was retaking the CPR exam had no partner.  The instructor’s ten-year-old daughter sat at a table alone as she read the notes she had taken during the class.

“Come on,” the new lieutenant said to the young girl. “I need a partner.”

He initiated CPR on the Rescue Annie, and after he completed the requisite two cycles, the girl approached him.

“I’m a kid. I know CPR, can I help?”

The lieutenant passed his CPR class.

Look for the helpers.

 

A short woman with a quirky sense of humor posted on an internet discussion group. “My husband and I want to go camping on the upcoming long weekend. Any recommendations?”

A seriously overweight, diabetic woman saw the post. She’d been depressed for years and had spiraled down her dark hole to the point of seriously considering ending it all. 

When she showed the post to her husband, he said, “You don’t know anything about them. What if you’re inviting an ax murderer or robbers to our house?”

“She’s smarter than all the rest put together and makes me laugh. That’s good enough for me.”

The woman posted “Come to Pittsburgh.”

No one else had any suggestions, and the short woman found a campground in the woods near Pittsburgh. 

“You don’t know anything about her,” her husband said as he drove their truck and trailer to Pittsburgh.

“She doesn’t put up with any nonsense and laughs at my jokes. I like her.”

The two dogs in the back seat of the truck slept.

As the short woman’s husband drove into the Pittsburgh neighborhood, he said, “Sure you want to do this?”

She pointed at a house. “We’re here.”

When they parked, the Pittsburgh woman’s husband rushed out. He examined the truck, the man, the trailer, and the woman then petted the dogs. All the neighbors stood on their porches and stared. 

“You’re okay. You’ve got dogs,” he said. “Come on in.”

The highlight of the weekend besides the fact that two oddly-different-but-same women became fast friends was when one of the dogs trotted to the neighbor’s yard and pooped. 

The Pittsburgh woman laughed. “I’ve never liked that neighbor. I’ve always wanted to do that myself.”

As the Pittsburgh man walked with the camper man to the truck at the end of the weekend, he said, “I want to thank you for coming. Your wife saved my wife’s life.”

Look for the helpers.

 

A family stood on the side of the road in the hot New Mexico sun. They’d run out of gas and had no water. Abuela – Grandma – and the two small children huddled under a child’s umbrella for shade. 

Trucks changed lanes and sped past them. “At least it’s a breeze,” the woman said in Spanish.

As the afternoon dragged on, the children’s faces reddened from being overheated, and Abuela had trouble catching her breath.

The man continued to wave his hat at the cars, but the drivers switched lanes and accelerated.

Do we look like highway robbers?” he growled in Spanish and threw his hat on the road. He raised his fist and shook it at the clear sky. “We’ve prayed for help. How hard can that be? Where are you, God? Did you leave us to die here?

A pickup slowed as it approached the car then parked in front of it. A tall cowboy with unruly curls and a bushy beard climbed out of the truck.

Is he going to kill us, Abuela?” the oldest child asked.

The cowboy lifted a gas can out of the back of his truck and strolled to the car. 

Out of gas?” he asked in Spanish.

We’ve been praying for you. Thank you,” the man said.

He stared at the children then trotted to his truck while the man filled his gas tank. The cowboy returned with three bottles of water.

It’s all I’ve got, but the kids and Abuela need water.

He took his empty gas can and left.

Look for the helpers.

 

God sends us help.

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. ~ Psalm 121:1-2

 

Rescue. Another word that touched my heart. 
What shall I write? I prayed for guidance for two days then sat at the keyboard and enjoyed the word-strings as they flowed into vignettes. 

Woman at the Well

by Anna Ottinger

digital art

Anna is the granddaughter of Deane and Bill Norwood. She will be studying visual communications at USC next year. Her inspiration for this piece was the story of how Jesus rescued the woman at the well by showing her truth but also unending love. –John 4:29

The Hook of I AM

by Sharon Cernogorsky

sketch

Our Lord is always there to bring us up out of our sufferings. He is our Rescuer.

The Free Grace of God

by Henry & Catherine Miller

songwriting & composing

Henry’s Testimony 

I came across the book The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning a few weeks ago. I only scanned it, but his relentless emphasis on God’s grace resonated with me and moved me to write a poem. As I began to write that evening, I was forced to think deeply about grace. I often wonder if I know enough about God, if I pray the right way, or if He still loves me when I boast of my theological depth, using Him as a stepping stool for my pride. I often feel inadequate for the tasks set before me, especially when I’m reminded of my past and present weaknesses. But in those times, one verse consistently reminds me of what God is up to: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in your will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Grace means that God will keep working in me to kill sin and cultivate a love for Him. It is all God’s work and none of mine. And it is enough. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). We are not deserving of God’s love, and we cannot earn it. That is why it is called free grace. 

“I waited patiently for the Lord; 
He turned to me and heard my cry. 
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, 
Out of the mud and mire; 
He set my feet on a rock
And gave me a firm place to stand. 
He put a new song in my mouth, 
A hymn of praise to our God. 
Many will see and fear 
And put their trust in the Lord.” 
Psalm 40:1-4 

Catherine’s Testimony 

It always amazes me when God’s Word speaks to me in my present circumstances. 

Last Thursday I was in my own slimy pit. I left my piano lesson in tears, frustrated with my circumstances, not confident in myself, crying to God to help in whatever way possible. I recall specifically sitting on a stone bench on the side of a tree-lined sidewalk in the back of the music school. I pulled out Henry’s hymn and read it again. He had given it to me a couple of weeks prior, but I hadn’t gotten anywhere with it. This time I read it and found I was terribly comforted by the word “free grace.” 

While I knew Ephesians 2:8 to be true, I had not assimilated it into my understanding of God. I had not allowed it to penetrate my heart. I set to work at the piano again over the next two days, the words of the hymn slowly seeping into my brain, allowing the music and words to flow from my heart. Saturday I sang it for Henry and Adam and they responded with great enthusiasm. We edited some parts of it, but it started to really come to life. When I read Psalm 40 just this Thursday, a week after my slimy pit, I knew that it was God who took me from my depression, gave me a firm place to stand in my new understanding of His grace, and put this song in my mouth. My prayer now is this: that this hymn might be a blessing to you in your life, and that you too may find comfort in the truth of scripture, that none of us are good enough to work our way into Heaven. Jesus already has done that for us. His grace is free. 

The Free Grace of God

Words by Henry Miller Music by Catherine Miller

The free grace of God!
What more do I need?
All of my efforts
will never succeed
in gaining me life
or freedom from sin,
nor will they ever
secure me to heav’n.

My works are all rags
thrown at the King’s feet.
In vain do I doubt
that He will complete
this good work which He
began in my soul!
I can add nothing,
for He makes me whole.

For when God sees me,
He sees His own Son.
He sees not one of
the sins I have done.
Christ took them upon
His sweet, holy frame,
saved me from wrath,
clothed me in His name.

But how was it made,
this wondrous exchange?
Righteousness high for
a sinner so stained?
‘Twas done with Christ’s blood
on Calvary’s tree.
Am I then worth it,
so costly a fee?

I am to my God
for I am His own!
He made me, he saved me,
And He will lead me home.
The thankfulness mine,
the righteousness His!
The free grace of God!
Oh, what more than this?

© 2007

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 

We wrote these words in 2007, before we were married (December 2008). We sang this—the first hymn we ever wrote together—for the church we were serving in at the time, Wildwood Presbyterian in Tallahassee, FL. In the years since, we have been in many more slimy pits, but the song finds its way into our hearts time and again, reminding us of the rescuer, Jesus, who sacrificed himself to rescue us from our sin and its eternal consequences.  

One Word is an artistic endeavor of Trinity Anglican Church. Every two weeks we will debut an online gallery “scroll” on a particular theme. To read more about this effort and see our next word, click here. To view previous submissions, click the gallery name below.

CREATE

FALL