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 10:26-31 and I John 1:5-10.
Devotional Scripture ~ Isaiah 30:15.
This Sunday South Shore UMC continues in our sermon series entitled No Fear In Love. This series is framed by Bishop Will Willimon's book Fear Of The Other: No Fear In Love. Each week of the series we will explore a reading from First John and a reading from The Gospel of Matthew or Luke, and place those scriptures in conversation with Willimon. I look forward to this time of learning together!
In Isaiah 30, the prophet addresses God’s people that are acting like a nation of Jonah’s. Recall the reluctant Jonah that attempted to outrun God - it is now the entire people of Israel attempting to outrun God:
They carry out plans without consulting God
They are rebellious and deceitful
They refuse to listen to The Lord’s instruction
“[Your] sin,” Isaiah says, “sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging that collapses suddenly, in an instant. It will break in pieces like pottery shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water out of a cistern” (v. 13-14).
Everything has gone sideways. And some outside force is not responsible. The people - and their choices - are responsible.
Our God longs to be gracious to us, and therefore will rise up and show compassion, says Isaiah (v. 18). Our Sabbath rest - which is not a suggestion or recommendation; it is commanded! - is and can be for us, again, the place we discover and transform through the power of repentance.
I am not always the best at observing Sabbath. I think if I can just get this one more thing done, then I can rest! But I never seem to do that. Why? Because there is ALWAYS something more to be done. Delaying Sabbath is not a sign of wisdom; neither is it a display of strength. Delaying Sabbath makes me (makes us) more susceptible to weakness. More vulnerable to sin.
So rather than relying on pride, I am making the choice to rely on God’s power. The power that is sourced in Sabbath rest through the gift of repentance.
I invite you to join me.
Reflection: Describe what you think it looks like to live your life returning to and resting in God. Confess whatever sin is keeping you from returning to and resting in God.
Prayer: "I can hear my Savior calling, I can hear my Savior calling, I can hear my Savior calling, "Take thy cross and follow, follow me." Where he leads me I will follow, where he leads me I will follow, where he leads me I will follow, I'll go with him, with him all the way."* Amen.
*”Where He Leads Me,” The United Methodist Hymnal 338.
**Devotional Resource: The Weekly Prayer Project by Scarlet Hiltibidal