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 ~ Luke 12:13-21.
Devotional Scripture ~ Psalm 100:4.
This Sunday South Shore UMC continues in our 2021 Stewardship Campaign. We turn to John Wesley for this year’s stewardship teaching as we reflect upon his sermons The Use of Money and On Dress. I look forward to this time of learning and reflection with the South Shore UMC Family. May God continue speaking to us that we would be further formed and transformed into the stewards God desires us to be.
Our devotional scripture for this week instructs us to enter God's gates in thanksgiving and and praise. Gates are a threshold. Old Testament scholar Robert Alter describes gates as "the point where the pilgrim crosses from the zone of the profane into the sacred precincts of the temple."* Gates are the transition between what is ordinary and extraordinary.
Andrew and I both received undergraduate degrees from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, which is home to the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in one place. Wright loved low ceilings. It is not uncommon for taller persons to have to duck or hold their heads to the side when walking through some of his exterior corridors. Some say Wright designed these buildings intentionally because of his own height. If the ceilings were low, then he, too, would feel and appear tall.
I agree - Wright designed these buildings intentionally to alert occupants of their size, but not in relation to the ceiling; rather, in relation to God.
When a person enters Annie Pfeiffer Chapel on Florida Southern's grounds, they greet low ceilings and small dark vestibules lit only by varied colored glass squares illumined by the sun. Once a person walks about ten steps, the low ceiling vaults skyward to the heavens.
Gates are the point where the pilgrim crosses from the zone of the profane into the sacred precincts of the temple. Gates are the transition between what is ordinary and extraordinary.
In relation to God, friends, we are so small. God is so big.
And the fantastic thing about it - God welcomes us. In companionship. In co-creator-ship. In covenant relationship.
God welcomes us to draw nearer the sacred - to pass through the thin places - and leave the profane behind. God welcomes our transformation because the Lord is good. And the Lord desires good for and from us.
Thanks be to God.
Reflection: What does it mean to enter the Lord's gates with thanksgiving? Reflect on three or four characteristics of God that stand out to you, and why you are thankful for them.
Prayer: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.”** Amen.
*The Book of Psalms 349.
**“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” The United Methodist Hymnal 349.
Devotional Resource: The Weekly Prayer Project by Scarlet Hiltibidal