What does shelter mean? At its most basic, shelter is a physical need for all humans. It is almost as essential as food, water, and air. Without shelter we are physically vulnerable. We may also think of shelter as the command to “shelter in place.” The news is filled with stories of violence in our workplaces, schools, and even churches. If we haven’t been personally affected by one of these tragedies, we probably know someone who has. Additionally, Christians all over the world are persecuted for their faith in various ways. We enjoy some freedom from that kind of persecution here in America, but stories of violence in our churches remind us that God does not promise physical safety when we choose to follow God’s call. On the contrary, we may even create enemies when we live out our faith.
When Jesus refused to show the crowd the miracles they were looking for, they tried to throw him over a cliff. But we say with the psalmist, “You are my rock, my fortress! . . . You alone are my hope” (tib). We have a reason to hope in the Lord. Our hope is a confident expectation, not a fruitless waiting with doubt. We build our hope on a solid foundation, our rock and our fortress. The Lord God Almighty who fashioned us in the womb and knows the hairs on our head will never forsake us. We need never despair. We are treasured and loved. Following God’s call is not an easy journey, but it is never a solitary one. For that I praise God.
God, I know you’ve taken care of me in the past, you’ve given me today, and I can trust you to take care of tomorrow, no matter what happens. Help me never forget that I can place my hope in you with confidence. Amen.
The readings from the Hebrew scriptures share a common theme of calling. Jeremiah is called at a young age to be a prophet. God knew and set apart Jeremiah even in the womb. The psalmist also expresses confidence in God’s call, because God knew him even before he was born. In the same way, God knows each one of us and has a plan for our lives that is not an afterthought. In this First Corinthians passage (often read at weddings), Paul speaks of love. But this love is not infatuation and is not based on emotion. It is intentional, strong, gritty, and unselfish. In Luke we see that many struggle with the fact that Jesus’ calling is also to serve the marginalized. Jesus reveals that God has a missional heart.
Read Jeremiah 1:4-10. What is God calling you to do? What excuses are you making to ignore your vocation?
Read Psalm 71:1-6. God promises not to make our lives easy or perfectly safe but to be with us when we face challenges and violence. In a world that seems increasingly violent, how do you find assurance of God’s continuous presence?
Read 1 Corinthians 13. God calls us to a vocation of love. How can you be more loving in your daily work or activities?
Read Luke 4:21-30. How do you see God’s call in those you know best? Do you accept or reject the call God has placed on their lives?
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