Bishop Election Devotional for March 20, 2019
By Rev. Jackie Braun (Christ Lutheran, Salem)
Sarah laughs overhearing The Lord saying to Abraham, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” Sarah has spent a long time waiting and hoping for a child, a son to call her own. Month after month, year after year she has waited; hoping, expecting, anticipating to only be met with hurt and disappointment. It was cycle that repeated itself for far too long. Now, when she is old and tired and her body no longer even able to bear a child, a pretty strong and clear rule of nature, she hears she will be pregnant within the year. What do you do when you are told the impossible is possible? Sarah laughs. And then she denies laughing at the possibility of a miracle when confronted with her lack of faith. “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” the Lord asks.
Is anything too hard for the Lord? Absolutely not! Is anything too hard for us to believe everything is possible in the Lord. You bet! The disciples do not see a future of life in the death of their teacher, their Messiah, the Anointed One. Some walk away having had hope saying we thought he was the One. The disciples retreat and hide, even after some have seen Jesus, restored in resurrected life. Thomas says he will only believe when he can see and touch Jesus. Turning barren and dead things into life – impossible! Even Christ as he laid on the cross, bearing the sins of this world, feeling forsaken and separated from His Father, His God, he too cries out broken, alone and disappointed. “My God, My God why have you forsaken me.”
Just like Sarah could not believe that life would ever come from her womb, no one could believe that a dead Messiah could come back to life. Jesus was dead and no one thought that tomorrow would be any different. On that first Easter Morning, something that appeared impossible and improbable, became reality, as Christ revealed his body to his disciples, speaking their names, and allowing them to touch his wounds and to see a living and breathing Christ among them. Peace be with you! The dead, now living, breathing, walking and teaching with you again. I come to bring you Life! Now go and tell.
This difficulty with believing in a Lord that can do anything, creating life from death and chaos is exactly why we need a Word from God! Each child of God needs to have a visitor, an angel, a messenger, a friend, a family member, a pastor and yes, even a Bishop to speak Words of life, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, words of eternal hope and promise in the face of a hard and rigid reality of barren lands, barren hearts and barren wombs. For where Christ is present, sins are forgiven and abundant life given. Peace be with you! Christ is with you!
LET US PRAY
Life giving Lord, you have already given us abundantly, a future filled with hope, promise and life. It is hard to believe in your abundance in the face of infertility and barrenness. When we laugh at such good news, strengthen our faith in you, giving us ears to hear your words of life and hope for me and for all, in your son’s most holy name we pray, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Word of God, Come Down on Earth, ELW #510
Canticle of Turning, ELW #723
How has God’s word been shared with you to give live and sustain faith? How have you shared God’s word to do the same? Have you ever longed for something and God appears not to hear? Have you ever received a gift after waiting for a long time?
Sign-up to receive future Bishop Election Devotions in your inbox.