Prayer: Dear God, thank you for starting the fire and showing us just how amazing your love is. Amen.
Reading: I Kings 18: 20-21, (22-29) 30-39 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: I had a conversation with a friend the other day about our mutual love of doing crafts. She had realized over her years of creativity that if she was stressed, she would find herself involved in a particularly complex craft project. In fact, one could track just how stressed she was by observing how enormous a craft she was working on. The more beautiful, the more complicated, the more detailed…..the more she was working through. If life was calm, she joked, her crafts were terrible. Only a short while later, I saw a small painting that she had done (that was more than beautiful), during a time when she was not at all stressed. It occurred to me that this friend didn’t do anything halfway.
Not going halfway is what comes to mind for me when I come to today’s story. Elijah wants to make sure that everybody knows two things; that Baal is a fake and that our God, the God of Israel, is more powerful than anyone could have imagined. And so comes the altar building and the soaking of the wood and the building of the trench to fill with water. And God does not disappoint. The fire burns through the sacrificed bull, the soaked wood, even the stones that formed the altar! And, then, as if to show off just a little, the fire that God created “even licked up the water that was in the trench.”
God doesn’t do anything halfway. And that especially means the love that God pours out for every person that has ever walked the face of the earth. There is no halfway. There is no “I’m putting up with this person until they get their act together….” There is only total all-consuming, crazy-burn-through-the-trench-water kind of love. No exceptions. So, even if you have spent years building a giant trench around your heart….God’s love can still get through. Isn’t that Good News? --Sarah Hershberger
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