8 day plan

Hope in a Time of Disaster

Day 3 of 8

1 Kings 19:11-13

11Then he said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the Lord’s presence.”

At that moment, the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. 13When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

Suddenly, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Reflections: When the Prophet Elijah was facing the hardships of persecution, he sought to withdraw to safety (dare we say run away?)  – although with good reason. We may not be facing persecution, but many are facing disaster and suffering.  Elijah’s story is a reminder that life in the service of God can be hard and that faith is not a guarantee of an easy life. In times of extreme difficulty, including natural disasters, it is good to remember that just as in this story, God is not necessarily in the acts of nature such as fire or earthquake as their direct cause. However, we can believe that God is present in our circumstances as a still small voice. Even in the face of hardship, God calls us into the world in mission to share the message of compassion, love and hope, not only in words, but in our love and good deeds.

Prayer:
Floods,
Fires,
Droughts,
Earthquakes,
Landslides,
Hurricanes, typhoons, tornados and cyclones,
The world tosses and turns us,
It throws us challenges and troubles,
It leaves us with struggles and suffering,
And you are not in these things,
At least not as the cause,
But as Immanuel – God with us,
For you are with us and all who struggle
Bring your comfort, God,
Floods,
Fires,
Droughts,
Earthquakes,
Landslides,
Hurricanes, typhoons, tornados and cyclones,
The world tosses and turns us,
It throws us challenges and troubles,
It leaves us with struggles and suffering,
And yet, you are not in these things,
At least not as the cause,
But you are present as the still small voice which sends us back into the world,
To share your message of hope,
And to live compassion and love to all in need.
Gather your people to join with you in your caring,
Opening hearts and minds in compassion.
Christ,
You lead us to see all as neighbours,
And command us to love them as ourselves.
You truly are God with us,
This is why we pray.
Amen

Days

1 Kings 19:1-21

Elijah’s Journey to Horeb

1Ahab told Jezebel everything that Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “May the gods punish me and do so severely if I don’t make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow!”

3Then Elijah became afraid and immediately ran for his life. When he came to Beer-sheba that belonged to Judah, he left his servant there, 4but he went on a day’s journey into the wilderness. He sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. He said, “I have had enough! Lord, take my life, for I’m no better than my ancestors.” 5Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree.

Suddenly, an angel touched him. The angel told him, “Get up and eat.” 6Then he looked, and there at his head was a loaf of bread baked over hot stones, and a jug of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. 7Then the angel of the Lord returned for a second time and touched him. He said, “Get up and eat, or the journey will be too much for you.” 8So he got up, ate, and drank. Then on the strength from that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. 9He entered a cave there and spent the night.

Elijah’s Encounter with the Lord

Suddenly, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Armies, but the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are looking for me to take my life.”

11Then he said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the Lord’s presence.”

At that moment, the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. 13When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

Suddenly, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

14“I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Armies,” he replied, “but the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they’re looking for me to take my life.”

15Then the Lord said to him, “Go and return by the way you came to the Wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive, you are to anoint Hazael as king over Aram. 16You are to anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel and Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. 17Then Jehu will put to death whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death whoever escapes the sword of Jehu. 18But I will leave seven thousand in Israel — every knee that has not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

Elisha’s Appointment as Elijah’s Successor

19Elijah left there and found Elisha son of Shaphat as he was plowing. Twelve teams of oxen were in front of him, and he was with the twelfth team. Elijah walked by him and threw his mantle over him. 20Elisha left the oxen, ran to follow Elijah, and said, “Please let me kiss my father and mother, and then I will follow you.”

“Go on back,” he replied, “for what have I done to you?”

21So he turned back from following him, took the team of oxen, and slaughtered them. With the oxen’s wooden yoke and plow, he cooked the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he left, followed Elijah, and served him.