Sunday, June 26, 2016

Serving the Same Lord in Diverse Ways

Repeat and or meditate on this verse until your thoughts are centered on God.
Forever has God's kindness ceased,
and is he from his word released?
Did God forget to show his grace?
Does wrath his mercy now replace?
Then I replied, 'Such questions show
that I my weakness need to know.
The Most High has a firm right hand
that through the years will changeless stand.'
 —Psalm 27:9-10
Suggested tune: Jerusalem (LMD)

Elisha picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. He took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” When he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.
—2 Kings 2:13-14
Elisha had no such work as Elijah—no hand-to-hand duels with murderous kings or queens; no single-handed efforts to stop a nation from rushing down a steep place into the sea; no fiery energy; no bursts of despair. He moved among kings and courts as an honored guest and trusted counselor. He did not dwell apart, like Elijah, the strong son of the desert; but, born in the fertile valley of the Jordan, he lived a life ‘kindly with his kind,’ and his delights were with other people. His miracles are mostly works of mercy and gentleness, relieving wants and sicknesses, drying tears and giving back dear ones to mourners. He is as complete a contrast to his stern, solitary, forceful predecessor, as the ‘still small voice’ was to the roar of the wind or the crackling hiss of the flames.

But, nevertheless, ‘there are varieties of activities, but the same God.’ It is well to remember that one type of excellence does not exhaust the possibilities of goodness, nor the resources of the inspiring Spirit. The comparative merits of strength and gentleness will always be variously estimated; but God’s work needs them both, and both may join hands as serving the same Lord in diverse ways, which are all needed. We should seek to widen our discernment to the extent of the rich variety of forms of good and of service which God gives. Elijah and Elisha, Paul and Timothy, Luther and Melanchthon, are all his servants. Well is it when the strong can recognize the power of the gentle, and the gentle can discern the tenderness of the strong, and when each is forward to say of the other, "You are 'doing the work of the Lord just as I am.’"
 —Alexander Maclaren
God of the prophets, bless the prophets' heirs;
Elijah's mantle o'er Elisha cast.
Each age for its own solemn task prepares:
Make each one nobler, stronger than the last...
 —Dennis Wortman (UCC adaptation)
Allow the above to help guide your own confession, praise, thanksgiving, and/or petition.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
 —Matthew 6:9-13

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