Breaking Open The Scriptures
Scriptures for June 6th: I Kings 17:8-24; Psalm 146, Galatians 1:11-24; Luke 7:11-17 Songs: O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing – UMH 57, My Life is in You Lord – TFWS 2032 (sing twice); I’m Gonna Live so God Can Use Me – TFWS 2153
I Kings: We have entered into ordinary time of the church calendar. The presence of the Holy Spirit is old news, it has been with us for awhile. As a matter of fact it is with us all of the time. Now we have to think about what to do with this gift. We now focus on the ministry of the prophets. In this story, Elijah is instructed by God to go to Zarephath – a city truly in need of God. He is not told to teach, or the preach, or to even to tell the people that they are wrong. Just to be present. To live with a widow, to get the know the people, and to meet the needs of this widow’s family, as she takes care of him. The widow’s son dies – and Elijah brings her most precious gift back to life. What does the presence of God do to bring us back to life in the dead spots of our life?
Luke: On the surface this is a similar story to the one in Kings. a widow’s son dies and the prophet comes and brings him back to life. Jesus uses this story for a very different reason. This son is a young adult, who is responsible for taking care of his mother. A widow has no other way of being cared for but the man in her life. She too will follow her son in death. But Jesus has sympathy for her. Jesus teaches all of his disciples (including us) to respond to injustice, the help those who are not able to care for themselves. Jesus makes sure that she will live, by bringing her son back to life. We are reminded that it is time to get in mission, to see the widows in our community who are in need.
Questions: In the ministry of presence what role do you play? Are you the prophet listening to the needs of the people or are you the one instructed by God to help the prophet in order to get your own needs met? How many signs of God do you miss because you are not listening? How do we show support for those who lose their means of support? How do we help those who lose a family member or a job? What does compassion mean for this community?