Saturday, June 22, 2013

June 30, 2013 - 6th Sunday After Pentecost

Breaking Open the Scriptures Scriptures for June 30th – 2 Kings 2:1-2,6-14; Psalm 77:1-2,11-20; Galatians 5:1, 13-25; Luke 9:51-62; Theme: Serving God and forsaking all else; Song: Freely, Freely – UMH 389 2 Kings: The bible does not record where Elijah comes from. And he leaves this earth just as mysteriously as he appeared. We can be grateful that God made sure that he had a successor, who had been training with him diligently. Elijah seems to know that he will not be around forever. And lately, he has been acting much stranger than ever. This is a story of transitions. This is the story where we literally get the term, “passing the mantle”. Elijah passes on his responsibility to Elisha. It is also an important story, because the bible does not say that Elijah is sick, it does not say that Elijah is close to death. But for some reason he seems to know that God is coming to get him, and God takes him to heaven in a carriage. The good news is that instead of shying away from responsibility, Elisha is more than willing to take on responsibility. As a matter of fact, Elisha asks for a double portion of what Elijah is able to do. As we pass the mantle on to our successors, it would be wonderful if they asked to do the same. Luke: This is another story about transitions and about change. Jesus completed his ministry to the people. Like Elijah, he was aware that his time on earth would not be long. He was concerned to make sure that his ministry continued beyond him. But Jesus did not stop at just one successor, he chose twelve. And unlike Elijah, he wanted to make sure that they were properly equipped. After talking with his disciples to tell them what to expect, scripture says that Jesus set his sight on Jerusalem. He knew that his time to leave this earth had come. Jesus gives us an important message though. In order to serve, we have to be willing to forsake all other things. Elisha got a chance to say goodbye to his family. He got a chance to kill his oxen. Yet Jesus says that anyone not willing to leave their life behind is not worthy to follow him. He tells us to go forward and work, and don’t look back. Trust the change, and don’t worry about the past, which can take care of itself. Questions: How do you deal with change? How are others willing to take on the mantle of new responsibility? What can we do to help them to take more responsibility? Do you feel empowered by Christ to carry on his ministry? What part of the past do you miss? What do you have to look forward to in the future? Do you fully understand what Christ has in store for you in the future? What do you need to do in order to trust Christ’s plans?

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