In the hymn “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” the author mentions raising an Ebenezer. In First Samuel, Samuel uses a stone he calls Ebenezer to commemorate the Israelites’ victory over the Philistines (7:12). Today we no longer raise Ebenezers to mark those places where we have encountered God’s faithful love, but perhaps we should. In our busy lives, days fly past without notice, and we seldom stop long enough to recognize and remember God’s activity at work in and through us to others. We may feel important and productive, but does our lack of reflection indicate wisdom?
The psalmist reminds us that wise people carefully consider the Lord’s faithful love. God brought us life, gave us gifts and talents, helps us produce and provide. The Holy Spirit is at work in us, but we often fail to notice or to give thanks. Many prayers are answered without appreciation or attention. The busyness that claims our attention keeps us from living lives of gratitude and hinders our faith from growing as we see God at work.
Paying attention to God and the love that God pours out on us and through us to the community we serve keeps us focused. Like Peter walking on the water, the storm and the waves seem pretty frightening when we stop looking at Jesus. As a church we easily forget our calling and spend time instead trying to keep people happy and satisfied: an impossible task. Remembering who God is and how God calls us to serve is more than wise; it is faithful. God’s love enables us to become children of God. We are worth a few Ebenezers that remind us of who we are and whose we are. Where would you raise an Ebenezer to celebrate God’s work in your life?
Almighty God, give us the vision to see you at work in us and to give thanks. Amen.
The Hosea passage portrays the agony of God, who is torn between the demands of judgment and of grace. When justice and grace are weighed in God’s balances, grace always prevails. Psalm 107’s language applies to many experiences of alienation. Lostness, hunger, thirst, and weariness characterize the condition of those cut off from God; yet if they seem abandoned, they are not. God has guided them out of the desert and back to their homes once again. The freedom to live in goodness is the subject of Colossians. The passage points read- ers beyond “things that are on earth” to “things that are above.” Freedom from greed is the focus of Luke 12:13-21, a text that addresses the dif cult issue of how the Christian is to deny the temptations of materialism while living in a very material world. The farmer is not condemned because he worked to produce a bumper crop, but his demise is viewed as tragic because he wrongly believed that his bulging barns would be his salvation.
• Read Hosea 11:1-11. God’s constant love, mercy, and grace allow for transformation. What would it be like if our sys- tems employed a justice designed to transform?
• Read Psalm 107:1-9, 43. From what captivity has God redeemed you?
• Read Colossians 3:1-11. What do you need to take away from your life in order to clothe yourself with the practices that re ect the image of God?
• Read Luke 12:13-21. How can you feel more satis ed with what you have? How will this allow you to share more with others?
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