Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
1 Kings 19:9-18
|Joseph sold into slavery
Elijah in the cave; God in the whisper
|421: Make Me a Captive,
530: Are Ye Able
105:1-6, 16-22, 45b
|Sing a Psalm of Joseph
God given goodness
|96: Praise the Lord Who Reigns
103: Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
379: Blow Ye the Trumpet, Blow
|Matthew 14:22-33||Walking on water||133: Leaning on the Everlasting
430: O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee
|Romans 10:5-15||Righteousness by faith||163: Ask Ye What Great Thing
385: Let Us Plead for Faith Alone
Where is God? It is a simple question, but the answer is not always so simple. When children ask, we tell them that God is everywhere. That answer may be difficult to put with this week's lectionary scriptures, though. Joseph might not have agreed that God is everywhere when he was sitting at the bottom of a dry cistern. Elijah might not have agreed when he looked for God in winds and earthquakes and fire. The disciples in the boat on the sea might not have agreed when they were being tossed about by wind and waves. Where was God? They all had to wait to find out, but Joseph found that God was with him in captivity, in prison, and in leadership. Elijah found that God was with him in a whisper--the still, small voice of God. The disciples found that God was with them in the storm, and would even walk on water to show it!
So where is God? Maybe the answer that we give to our children needs just two more words: God is everywhere--with us! What a joyful thing. God was not in the plan to harm Joseph, but He was with Joseph in spite of that plan. God was not in the wind, earthquake, or fire that could have killed Elijah, but He was with Elijah in spite of those events. God was not in the storm that frightened the disciples, but He was with the disciples in spite of the storm. We may not see God with our eyes, but God is everywhere with us today, too.
This week's featured hymn was written by Walter Chambers Smith (1824-1908). Ordained into the Free Church of Scotland at age 26, Smith served as rector in five congregations and was elected moderator of the Free Church of Scotland in 1893. He wrote many hymns and poems, viewing this activity as a retreat from his regular work as rector. His works include The Bishop's Walk, published in 1860; North Country Folk, 1883; A Heretic and Other Poems 1891; and Poetical Works, 1902.
Just like everyone else, Smith had to find the answer to the question, "Where is God?" It was a matter of faith--he did not see, yet he believed. This hymn, based on 1 Timothy 1:17, reflects Smith's belief in God, and perhaps his answer to where God can be found. Read the following words and look for your answer:
|1. Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
in light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.
|2. Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;
thy justice like mountains high soaring above
thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.
|3. To all, life thou givest, to both great and small;
in all life thou livest, the true life of all;
we blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
and wither and perish, but naught changeth thee.
|4. Thou reignest in glory; thou dwellest in light;
thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;
all laud we would render: O help us to see
'tis only the splendor of light hideth thee.
God is everywhere--with us. With me. With you. Immortal. Invisible. Still with us.
God bless you--
Lection at HymnSite.com
God bless you!
|Passages suggested are from The Revised Common Lectionary: Consultation on Common Texts (Abingdon Press, 1992) copyright © by the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT), P.O. Box 340003, Room 381, Nashville TN 37203-0003. Reprinted with permission of CCT.|