Skip to main content

Tragedy & Community



The narrative lectionary reading for this week is 1 Kings, chapter 17.  In this story, Elijah goes off into the wilderness.  God cares for his needs.  He drinks from a creek and is fed by ravens.  When a drought comes to the land, his creek dries up, and God tells him to go find a widow in a nearby land.  The widow was preparing her final meal before she and her son would lie down to die from starvation.   Elijah had the audacity to ask her to feed him first.  She figured she had nothing to lose, and so she fed Elijah, but then found she had enough to make another meal.  Her pantry always had enough for one more meal, for the duration of the famine/drought.

"Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.  Then the word of the Lord came to him: 'Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there.  I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.'" - 1 Kings 17:7-9

Most often when focusing on this story we focus on the faith of the widow, but this week I want to focus on the command for community in crisis.  If God can command the ravens to deliver food, God could have certainly continued to feed Elijah in the wilderness, so why did God send Elijah to go to the widow?

God uses Elijah to provide for the widow, just as much if not more than the widow provided for Elijah.  The widow was making her final meal before laying down to die, but God provides food through the blessing of Elijah.  Later in chapter 17, when her son dies, God provides healing and resurrection through Elijah.  In the end, the scriptures tell us that the widow believed in everything Elijah taught because of God's provision.  Don't we experience the same provision through community?

When we regularly break bread with others, we find ourselves fed when we don't have enough.  When we find ourselves hurting, wounded, or sick with grief, is it not the community that helps us through?  I think that Elijah was sent there, not to meet his own needs, but to be in community with that widow.  In times of crisis, God drives us into community because we need each other.  

With COVID and the tension surrounding the upcoming elections, I feel we have a nation that is suffering and wounded.  We have a drought of another kind, and I think God is calling us towards community.  Don't you?

Lord, help us to find our community.  Help us to support one another.  Amen.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Divine | Shame | Humans

Shame is often the only thing between our creator and us. Our reading this week is from Job 14:5-6: A person’s days are determined;      you have decreed the number of his months      and have set limits he cannot exceed. So look away from him and let him alone,      till he has put in his time like a hired laborer. Job is struggling with shame and judgement.  He is wondering why God is spending time paying attention to him, a tiny speck in the great universe, a blink of an eye in all eternity.  Why would God waste time casting a glance at us, let alone fostering us, raising us, and disciplining us?  He cries out "Why won't God just let us be, to live out our miserable existence?" A friend shared a post with me on Facebook this week.  It was a video of her dog who had stolen her donut.  The dog had been under the bed for two hours before she started the video.  The video begins with a clear view of the dog and the uneaten donut under the bed.  The dog casts glances from s

Justice & Privilege

The narrative lectionary reading for this week begins a 5 week series on the book of Job.  We focus on Job 1:1-12.  This first section sets the background for the parable.  It is important to note that this is clearly a parable, not a historical text.  This means we must look beyond the described events and towards a deeper meaning within the text.   The story goes like this: ___ There was once a man who thought he was good, an upright citizen, a religiously devout man.  He made good choices and avoided all forms of evil.  He was so pious that he made sacrifices in the name of his family members in case they had unknowingly sinned.  He had great wealth and privilege, and so this was evidence of his goodness.   God was so pleased with this great man, named Job, that he bragged about him to the accuser.  The accuser objected "Of course Job is good, you have provided him with wealth, power, and protection. He would curse you if he was not so privileged."  At this, God takes the

Fool for Christ

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 2 Corinthians 5.  Verse 13 stood out to me. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. - 2 Corinthians 5:13a (NLT) John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard churches did a famous sermon called "I am a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?".  Reading this week's text reminded me of this wonderful sermon.  Wimber's sermon reminds us that, as christians, we are called to something truly radical.  The christian walk is strange and counter cultural.  Jesus once explained this to his disciples in John 15 "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. You don't belong to this world, I have chosen you out of it.  That is why the world hates you."   Peter, in a letter to the church, later referred to all of us as strangers just passing through this world.   Do you feel like a stranger?  Do you feel like the world hates you?  Are you a fool for Christ? Here is the thing, you are going t