News, Connections and Photos from the life of the faith community at CAPC Oakland
It feels like we’re running a marathon with no finish line. COVID Fatigue. Shortages in stores. Inflation. Fear for our children. We’re over-stressed; over-worked; just plain over it. In all that it’s easy to feel like we’re on our own, that we’re alone. Where is God in all of this. Sure, we have a vaccine. Sure, things have gotten better for us in our context than they were a year ago. And still….
It’s similar to how the prophet Elijah must have felt in our story from 1 Kings 19. He’s been faithful to his calling, standing for justice and honest relationship with both God and neighbor in the public square. He’s spoken with and against King Ahab and Queen Jezebel who are leading the people in a different direction. He’s had a “prophet-off” in chapter 18 of 1 Kings, in which he goes head to head with the prophets of Ba’al (the false god the royal couple wants the people to embrace). Elijah has been threatened with death, has long been on the run, having to take shelter in the overlooked house of a forgotten widow. He’s tired. Exhausted. Worn out. At the end of his rope. Feeling totally abandoned, forsaken – alone. So he takes refuge in a cave – to keep himself from being killed – and also with a death wish, thinking to himself it’s be better to just be dead and have all of this drama over with.
Into that alone-ness God erupts. But it’s different than Elijah – or we – would expect. The God whose very name (YHWH) means “I AM”…with you, for you, alongside you, before and after you…. shows up and Elijah is changed, resurrected in a sense.
Our passage from Hebrews is an exhortation to remember that we’re not alone in seeking to live for God, to advance the justice of Jesus…others have also walked that road, and even wondered if they were alone, or had made a bad choice. It’s a reminder to hang in there, to know that we’re not alone – for God in Jesus became like us, even in our fears of being alone, feeling trapped to suffer through lives in caves of abandonment.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION & EXAMEN:
• What engaged you, enraged you, or surprised you in the text?
• When is a time when you’ve felt like Elijah – attacked for standing up for what is right, exhausted, spent, al-most ready to die because you just can’t adult or show up any more?
• God is present in the world. It’s inherent in God’s holy name YHWH – “I AM.” And yet, we often feel like we’re alone, forgotten – in a cave of abandonment. When is a time that you experienced God’s presence in a visceral way (like Elijah in 1 Kings 19) How did it shape you? Or how do you long to hear God speak to you in your aloneness today? Talk to God of it.
• What invitation do you heard the Spirit of God speaking to you – or to us, as a church – to act, speak, be or change through this word of scripture?