The benefit of six weeks of sick leave when recovering from surgery is that there is plenty of time to think. I have had many, many thoughts over the last several weeks and have kept most of them to myself. But this week’s scriptures deserve much time, attention, and prayer.
Elijah was the last prophet of the Lord and his task was to prove that the God of Israel was alive and well. He managed to do this in a spectacular way. God very obligingly burned up his offering. Unfortunately, this isn’t likely to happen these days. But the question asked of Elijah is a good one. In an increasingly secular world, how do we show our faith in a God who surely is alive and well?
The Psalm reminds us that God wants us to “sing a new song,” one that recognizes that we are not God. It’s tricky. We easily forget that the gods we make are not truly God. In what way do we “ascribe to God glory and strength”?
In Galatians Paul asks an essential question, one that I do not think Christians of any stripe ask often enough: Am I now seeking human approval, or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people?
Then we have the faith of the centurion in Luke. He was not raised to believe in God. He was a man of power and position, but he sought Jesus to cure a slave who had value to him. Then he showed humility and trusted that Jesus could heal with a word. This short passage points back to the question raised by the 1 Kings passage. How do people who are raised without faith come to have faith? Do we who have faith live in such a way that truly embodies Christ, invites others to believe because they have encountered something Christ-like in us?
This is what having much time to think does to me. I have more questions than answers.
RCL – Second Sunday after Pentecost – June 2, 2013
1 Kings 18:20-21, (22-29), 30-39 with Psalm 96
1 Kings 8:22-23, 41-43 with Psalm 96:1-9