A number of years ago I wrote nine essays for the “Feasting On the Word” commentary series of which David Bartlett was the editor. Three of those essays had to do with the stories of the prophet Elijah found in I Kings. This year, as I was doing some sermon planning, I saw that the passages I had written about were among the June lectionary readings. I anticipated that I would build from what I had already written.
Instead, I was taken by what another author, Trevor Eppehimer, wrote about I Kings 19: 1-5a, our text this coming Sunday. In this account Elijah, having faced down 450 prophets of Baal, is having a personal crisis and is hiding in a cave high on a mountain. Eppehimer writes:
Huddled in his cave, convinced of his unique status as the last remaining person of faith, Elijah’s primary temptation is to think that he has to go it alone, that it is all up to him. This illusion presents itself to us when our concepts of reality do not include the dynamic presence of God, which empowers us to trust in the resources of divine grace – which specializes in making the impossible possible.
I look forward to speaking with you under the title “Get Out of the Cave.” In simplest terms my theme will be that there are times we need to get out of our caves of self-pity and self-aggrandizement in order both to see and to be seen.
We pray with all those who have requested prayer, those who lifted a prayer during the Concerns and Celebrations on Sunday and those who are praying in private. We offer this Summer Prayer as a symbol of our ongoing concern as spring gives way to summer.
Under the warmth
of the summer sun
the world awakes and blossoms
into every imaginable colour.
You created a garden for us to enjoy,
and within it planted
the most magical of flower and trees.
You needed no horticultural training
to plan your colour scheme,
no gardening expert
to recommend variety or design.
Your garden is perfect,
its colours harmonious,
its scale immense,
spoilt only by the clumsiness
of those who tend it.
Thank you to Pastor Allison, Minister in Residence Sandra and Dean LeAnn for representing us at the Biennial American Baptist Mission Summit at Virginia Beach, Virginia this weekend.