Tag Archives: Elijah

Ahh……

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The Sunday school teacher was carefully explaining the story of Elijah the Prophet and the false prophets of Baal.

She explained how Elijah built the altar, put wood upon it, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it upon the altar.

 And then, Elijah commanded the people of God to fill four barrels of water and pour it over the altar. He had them do this four times

“Now, said the teacher, “can anyone in the class tell me why the Lord would have Elijah pour water over the bull on the altar?”   

A little girl in the back of the room started waving her hand, “I know! I know!” she said, “To make the gravy!”

 

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Wounds

God is with us in our joys and celebrations. He is also with us in our sorrows and suffering, and at our death.

There’s an old Jewish legend:

A Rabbi asked Elijah, “When will the Messiah come?” Elijah replied, “Go and ask him yourself.”

“Where is he?”

“Sitting at the gates of the city.”

“How shall I know him?”

“He is sitting among the poor covered with wounds. The others unbind all their wounds at the same time and then bind them up again. But he unbinds one at a time and binds it up again, saying to himself, ‘Perhaps I shall be needed: if so I must always be ready so as not to delay for a moment. “

 

The Messiah, the story tells us, is sitting among those in need, binding his own wounds but in such a way that he is always ready to help others when needed. This is the way of the Christian, the follower of Christ. We are all called to be wounded healers. We are not immune to suffering but as we look after our own wounds, we have to be prepared to heal the wounds of others.

Another way of putting it is the way that Jesus put it to his disciples. “If anyone wants to come with me, he must forget himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”

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WOULD THE REAL J.C. PLEASE STAND UP

An eight-year-old was asked to write a homework essay with the title ‘Explain God’ This is what he wrote:

One of God’s main jobs is making people.  He makes them to replace the ones that die so there be enough people to take care of things on earth.

He doesn’t make grown-ups, just babies.  I think because they are smaller and easier to make.  That way, he doesn’t have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk.  He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

God’s second most important job is listening to prayers.  An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times besides bedtime.

God doesn’t have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this.  Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.

God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere, which keeps him pretty busy.  So you shouldn’t go wasting his time by going over your mum and dad’s head asking for something they said you couldn’t have.

Jesus is God’s son.  He used to do all the hard work like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn’t want to learn about God.  They finally got tired of him preaching to them and they crucified him.

But he was good and kind like his father and he told his father that they didn’t know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said OK.

His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth, so he told him he didn’t have to go out on the road anymore.  He could stay in heaven. So he did.  And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which

are important for God to take care of – and which ones he can take care of himself, without having to bother God.  Like a secretary – only more important.

That’s an eight year old’s perception of who God and Jesus are and what they are like.

 It’s a misconstrued perception, but, sadly, such warped descriptions aren’t restricted to children.

 Many adults too have a false impression of who Jesus is.

 Jesus once asked his disciples who people think he is.  He was testing public opinion.

The answers ranged from John the Baptist to Elijah and Jeremiah or some other prophet.

But Peter, when asked, was able to give the answer to the puzzle of Jesus’ identity – and his answer should be ours also –  ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God’

Jesus is Emanuel, God with us, the head of dominion in whom is full salvation and access to God.

He comes from God, is one with God, reveals his purpose, and leads humanity back to him.  He is what God intends humankind to become.

Jesus is about love and reconciliation.  He’s about broken lives and putting them back together again.

Jesus is about everything that is good and pure.

He looks at us as he did the disciples that day and says, “Who do YOU say I am?”

Jesus is not someone, who is easily defined, but when, with Peter, we acknowledge him to be the Messiah or Christ, we confess him as we have experienced him.

As we have experienced his compassion and his love.

For Jesus is love.

The real Jesus is someone who cares for us, who has compassion on us, who loves with a love divine all loves excelling; a love that made him sacrifice himself for the likes of us – yes, us, loveless and imperfect as we all are. 

When we have experienced that wondrous love, then we truly know who he is – “the Messiah or Christ, the Son of the Living God”

Who is the real Jesus?  Someone who loves us far more than we will ever understand.

As the old Hymn puts it –

Jesus loves me this I know

For the Bible tells me so

Little ones to him belong

They are weak, but he is strong

Yes, Jesus loves me

Yes, Jesus loves me

Yes, Jesus loves me

The Bible tells me so

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Fear

In the story of creation as described in the Book of Genesis, we read about Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit, something which had been specifically denied them. Knowing that God is searching for them, they attempt to hide.

It is a scene perhaps reminiscent of the childhood of many of us when we had done something that we were not supposed to and we literally hid from our searching parents. Finally God finds them, as we know that He will, for, after all, where can we go to hide from God? God asks them why they are hiding. Do you remember the response that Adam gave: “Because, I was afraid.”

I think this very poignant story reminds us that fear is so basic to who we are as humans, it goes all the way back to the beginning of time. To be human is to experience fear.

In Germany in the Harz Mountains is a particular peak that is called the Brocken.

For centuries it was a place of dread, because of stories of a giant who lived on its top.  These stories were verified by many travellers through the mountain range who had claimed to have seen him.

Then someone discovered this about the giant: he was only seen at sunrise and sunset… when the sun’s rays were horizontal.

Also – only when the Brocken was free of cloud.

What, of course, had been perceived to be a giant was only a magnified and distorted image traveller himself.

How often we tremble at our own reflections & flee at our own shadows.

Perhaps the most surprising fear of many people, and one that we do not like to address is the fear of God. It is the fear that God is not really on our side. It is the fear that God will put us out on a limb and leave us.

It is not a new idea. One of the great fears of the ancient people was that God would fall asleep. Can you imagine such a thing? When the prophets of Baal could not get their Gods to rain down fire on the top of Mt. Carmel, Elijah taunted them: Maybe your God is asleep, he said. On the other hand, the Jews took great comfort in the fact that the God of Israel neither slumbered nor slept.

Over and over again the message of the Bible is fear not. When Abram took his family to the Promised Land he feared that he was turning his back on everything he knew, his security for the unknown. God spoke to him: Fear not Abram, I am your shield and your reward will be great

When the Jews stood at the Red Sea and could see Pharaoh’s chariots coming on the horizon, they cried out that they would all be slaughtered. Moses said to them: Stand still, fear not, and see the salvation of the Lord.

When the angel of the Lord came to Mary and said that she would bear a child, she trembled with fear. What would become of her? Said the angel: Fear not Mary, for you have found favour with God.

Fear not! It is how we would like to live.

Into what kind of a world have our children been born?  We look around us and we often despair, when we see what kind of a society we live in and what kind of a planet we inhabit.  A dangerous and often desolate place.

There is much to be fearful about around us in this day and age.

But so there was also when the Gospels were written.

To anxious people in our day, Christ says, as he has said down trough the centuries to countless other fearful folk: “Do not be afraid; be of good courage!”

Regardless of what happens, God never deserts us.  And as Christ says, “Remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.”

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