May 2, 2019
Rejoicing in the Morning
May 2, 2019
We’ve been reading this week about celebrating God’s great victory for life, and we remember that we are still in the Easter season. Isaiah cautions us to focus on the reason we celebrate and the way we go about it. Feasting and praising God that sends us out to care for others is one thing; feasting that leads to drunkenness and social irresponsibility is quite another. The prophet speaks out against public disregard for God’s righteousness (5:11-17). Verses 8-10 condemn those who acquire lands and wealth avariciously “until there is room for no one but you.” Consuming to excess in all its forms shuts out the lowly among us and disregards God’s intentions for all people to live in the fullness of life. Those who do not remember God’s deeds will “go into exile” without understanding. “Everyone will be brought low.” Verse 17 is a picture of the desolation that comes from disdaining God’s justice: “The kids and fatlings will graze among the ruins” (NRSV).
Revelation 3:14-22 warns against another extreme: tepidness. The Laodiceans had lost their eagerness for serving others in Christ’s name. They had settled for a bland imitation of “spirituality” that became more important to them than the everyday selfless care of others that is the mark of Christian love. The situation is not hopeless, however. Christ stands at the door and knocks. For those who answer and invite Christ in, he will sit at their table and eat with them. Feasting at the table in Christ’s presence is a holy act, a constant reminder of whose we are, what we are called to do in Christ’s name, and the assurance that presence of Christ is always with us.
As Psalm 30 reminds us, God’s resurrection power is available: “Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead. . . . Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
QUESTIONS FOR THE FIELD
- Exile is an ancient form of punishment, dreaded worse than death. What does it feel like to be prevented from going home? Can a person be “in exile” from his community without physically leaving it?
- Early Methodists were sometimes accused of having too much “enthusiasm.” When is enthusiasm a good thing? Are modern Methodists “enthusiastic” about their faith?
FAMILY FIELD TALK
- What is the Great Commandment? Can you say it by heart? (Luke 10:27)
- Who is your neighbor? Do you think Jesus meant to love only the people who live near you? How do you show love for your neighbors, those who are near and those who are far away?
God our deliverer, you raised your Son Jesus from the dead, and now he calls us his friends. Show us the way to live in love and friendship with all the earth’s people. Bring us together in the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.