Each week Pastor Sarah offers a devotional reflection to connect with the South Shore UMC Family. Use this entry as a way to prepare your heart and mind for worship. See you Sunday!
Sunday's Scripture ~ Matthew 19:13-15.
Devotional Scripture ~ I Kings 18:36-37.
This week the South Shore UMC Family begins a new three-week sermon series entitled God's Special Compassion. Each week of the series, we will explore scriptures that emphasize God's focus - and align ours, as well - on populations firmly within God's special compassion. Rev. Zig Bays begins our study this Sunday; I am grateful for his leadership in worship and his partnership in ministry.
The Weekly Prayer Project prompt for this week returned me to South Shore's recent study of the prophet Elijah. It is the moment where fire falls from heaven, engulfing the altar.
Elijah prepared the place. He gathered stones. He arranged the wood. He set the sacrifice upon the altar. All of this was his offering - his offering of the stuff of this world - the stuff our God created. It was a portion - a portion given back to God.
The prophet prayed. And then he stood back...and God did something that many gathered there that day probably thought impossible.
God showed up. The theophany at the altar - God's revealing of God's self, God's might, God's majesty, God's presence and power at the altar - in the midst of impossible odds - because the people felt distanced from God, and they were probably not too sure about this new guy, Elijah, and his far-fetched plan, not to mention the altar that he built was soaking wet! - showed that God intervenes for the faithful. God does not leave us for forsake us.
God will never leave us or forsake us.
Now...it is true...that sometimes we do not see or recognize God's showing up - God's theophanies - straight away. It is also true that our God does not always show up when, where, and how we would expect...or like. But our God shows up. Hindsight is 20/20. Listening to the witnesses of our family, friends, and neighbors helps us learn how God might be showing up in our lives. These stories also assure us of where God showed up in our past...which is a comfort and confidence boost that God will show up in our future.
Reflection: In which seemingly impossible circumstances do you need God's divine intervention right now? List some times in your past when God has worked in seemingly impossible ways in your life, for your good and for God's glory.
Prayer: "There's a song in every silence, seeking word and melody; there's a dawn in every darkness bringing hope to you and me. From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery, unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see."* Amen.
*"Hymn of Promise," The United Methodist Hymnal 707.
Devotional Resource: The Weekly Prayer Project by Scarlet Hiltibidal