Friday, September 27, 2013

27 September 2013

Sometimes life gets out of hand. In the old days when the people had seen mighty works, the country was strong, and the rulers tried to be faithful, there was a sense of a golden age. Then along came new governors, new technology, and a feeling of entitlement. That may sound familiar, but it’s the ancient time after King David and King Solomon I have in mind – days so long ago they are buried in mystery and myth. Life got out of hand. No-one cared about the widows and orphans – the litmus test of ethics – and one king after another suffered from swollen head syndrome, figuring they were larger than life. Then along came Elijah, poof! out of nowhere and told royalty to get it together. He said they’d done wrong. Then God told him to run away, run away fast. Have you ever had to do that? To call a friend on their behaviour, stop a shameful act, put a pin in the balloon of selfishness, speak truth to power? I expect you have. And I expect it was difficult. Elijah did. And God sent him away to absorb the magnitude of what he had done, and to prepare him for more. While Elijah was hiding out, God sent ravens to feed him. Relax, Elijah, the ravens will bring you breakfast and supper. I hope you have time to relax, to absorb the important things you have done, and let others look after you. Blessings on you – blessings in the hand and over your head, The Rev. Dr. Catherine Faith MacLean 1 Kings 17: 1-16 as told in The Message And then this happened: Elijah the Tishbite, from among the settlers of Gilead, confronted Ahab: “As surely as God lives, the God of Israel before whom I stand in obedient service, the next years are going to see a total drought—not a drop of dew or rain unless I say otherwise.” God then told Elijah, “Get out of here, and fast. Head east and hide out at the Kerith Ravine on the other side of the Jordan River. You can drink fresh water from the brook; I’ve ordered the ravens to feed you.” Elijah obeyed God’s orders. He went and camped in the Kerith canyon on the other side of the Jordan. And sure enough, ravens brought him his meals, both breakfast and supper, and he drank from the brook. Eventually the brook dried up because of the drought. Then God spoke to him: “Get up and go to Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I’ve instructed a woman who lives there, a widow, to feed you.” So he got up and went to Zarephath. As he came to the entrance of the village he met a woman, a widow, gathering firewood. He asked her, “Please, would you bring me a little water in a jug? I need a drink.” As she went to get it, he called out, “And while you’re at it, would you bring me something to eat?” She said, “I swear, as surely as your God lives, I don’t have so much as a biscuit. I have a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a bottle; you found me scratching together just enough firewood to make a last meal for my son and me. After we eat it, we’ll die.” Elijah said to her, “Don’t worry about a thing. Go ahead and do what you’ve said. But first make a small biscuit for me and bring it back here. Then go ahead and make a meal from what’s left for you and your son. This is the word of the God of Israel: ‘The jar of flour will not run out and the bottle of oil will not become empty before God sends rain on the land and ends this drought.’” And she went right off and did it, did just as Elijah asked. And it turned out as he said—daily food for her and her family. The jar of meal didn’t run out and the bottle of oil didn’t become empty: God’s promise fulfilled to the letter, exactly as Elijah had delivered it!