June 19, 2022

1 Kings 19:1-15a

“Listening Together”

I think I said the most important things about today’s passage about the prophet Elijah when I was talking to the children this morning. His story reminds us that there are times in our lives when we all experience sadness, despair, and even depression. And even if we are completely alone, God is with us in those times, seeking to strengthen and help us, ready to speak to us words of love, courage, and hope for the future.

But there are two details in the story that I want to invite you to notice and to think about. First, it’s the fact that Elijah felt very alone. When he speaks to God he repeats, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.”

“I alone am left.” I wonder how often some of us have felt like that – like we’re all alone and we can’t handle all the responsibilities and tasks that we have to do. We may experience that heavy load and … Read more »

June 23, 2019

1 Kings 19:1-15a
Psalm 42
Luke 8:26-39

“In the Strength of that Food”

This is the season in the Church Year that is called “Ordinary Time.” If I were dressed more formally in my alb and stole, I’d be wearing the dark green stole and I’d be sticking with that colour all the way through from now until Advent at the end of November.

Now, it’s not called “ordinary time” because it’s nothing special or just a regular Sunday. Ordinary Time actually refers to the ordinal numbering of the Sundays after Pentecost. Today is the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost, and we’ll keep counting the Sundays like that all through the summer and fall.

But some commentaries suggest that paying attention to the more common meaning of the word “ordinary” may actually help us think about what comes after big events for a community. We celebrated Holy Week and Easter with great planning, and many people involved, and special music and liturgies. We marked Pentecost too – the birthday of the church – and rejoiced in the gift of the Holy Spirit poured out to give us courage, and confidence, and wisdom in sharing the good news with all people.

Now that the high holy days are past, … Read more »

August 13, 2017

1 Kings 19:9-18
Matthew 14:22-33

“Meeting Jesus in the Storm”

The Revised Common Lectionary provides us with a set of readings for each Sunday, and the first thing that ministers tend to do in studying them is to look for some kind of connection between them. Why do we have Elijah’s panic attack paired with Jesus’ walking on the water today? Two interesting stories… but what do they have to do with each other?

Well, the first connection I noticed was that both stories have storms. The disciples encounter a windstorm out on the lake, causing their boat to be battered by the waves and likely making the rowing very difficult. And Elijah, after running away to hide in a cave, experiences a great wind, an earthquake, and a fire… followed by the voice of God asking him, “What are you doing here?”

And it’s not just the strong winds that connect today’s stories, but also the good news that in the midst of those storms, God speaks to us, and God comes to us.

Can you remember some storms that you’ve been through in your life? Perhaps some actual storms with thunder and lightning striking, with mighty winds causing destruction, or with blowing and drifting … Read more »

June 23, 2013

1 Kings 19:1-15a
Psalm 42
Luke 8:26-39

“I Shall Again Praise God”

Over the last several weeks, today, and next Sunday, the Old Testament readings in the lectionary have been the great stories of the prophet Elijah. We heard about Elijah challenging the prophets of Baal to a contest between the gods, and demonstrating powerfully that the God of Israel is the one true God.

Then we had the story about Elijah’s visit to a poor widow in Zarephath. He invited her to share the few resources she had in the midst of a drought, and with God’s help he multiplied her grain and her oil so that she and her family were fed for many days. Then when the widow’s son died, God gave Elijah the power to raise him back to life, and he did.

We skipped over last week’s reading about Elijah in order to celebrate Christian Family Sunday, but it was the one in which King Ahab and his wife Jezebel get a man killed in order to take possession of his vineyard. God sends Elijah to challenge the king and accuse him of his wrongdoing. Elijah serves as the prophet of truth and justice, assuring the … Read more »