Monday, February 4, 2013
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.
Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read: Psalm 56, 1 Kings 17:8-16, and 1 Corinthians 2:6-16
Today’s Old Testament reading bounces off of yesterday’s Gospel. Jesus was preaching in Nazareth, and one of his points was that there were many widows in Israel during Elijah’s time, but he was sent to a widow who was a Gentile, living in Zaraphath. The famine that had affected Israel was also affecting nearby nations. When the widow was close to running out of food, God sent Elijah to her. He used Elijah to bless her with food for the rest of the famine.
Zaraphath belonged to Sidon, and Sidonites were a group upon whom the Israelites loved to look down. They were considered to be dirty, loud, and offensive. It may have been hard for Elijah to live with this woman, because of his cultural prejudices.
Sometimes we have to overcome our own ideas and minister to people who we don’t particularly like. God is always pushing us to overlook outward things and look at the heart. He created all of us in his image, and he loves all of us. He wants us to love each other. Elijah had to overcome his likes and dislikes in order to love and minister to this pagan woman. Sometimes we have to do the same.
Take some time to pray about this. How has God used you in the past to minister to people with whom you were unfamiliar, or possibly even disliked? Are you willing to go if God sends you? How can you show God’s love to someone who is from a different culture? Ask God to help you. Write your own prayer.