Great Plains Daily Devotional for 12/18/2018

Today please be in prayer for

Hector Sanchez
Holton: Evangel UMC
Topeka District
Kathy Williams
Holton: First UMC
Topeka District
Young Won
Horton: First UMC
Netawaka UMC
Whiting UMC
Topeka District
Bev McCurdy
Hoyt UMC
Topeka District

Today's Lectionary Text

Isaiah 11:1-9 

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
    the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    the spirit of counsel and might,
    the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
    or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
    and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
    and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
    and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
    the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
    and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
    their young shall lie down together;
    and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
    and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
    on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.

Today's Devotional

Years ago, I spotted a tree at my parents’ house that made me look twice. From afar, it looked like a normal tree. As I got closer, it was clear that the main trunk had been damaged in a storm. What formed the outline of the tree reminded me of this passage: “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.”

Today’s text is one that includes imagery that is significant in our Christian Story. The heading in my Bible calls this section, “The Peaceful Kingdom.” The images are compelling, are they not? A stump that sprouts branches. Someone who judges not by what they see and hear, but with righteousness. Wolves and lambs, leopards and baby goats, calves and lions, all being led by a child! These images elicit concern, dismissal, danger and maybe even strike us as absurd.

And yet, they point to the heart of our longings that tap into the power of the Advent season. Somewhere deep in our soul, we know that the way things are is not the way that they’re supposed to be. Advent is the season of the church year in which we long for the light of Christ to enter our darkness. We celebrate through his (first) arrival as a baby born in the humblest of circumstances and yearn for his return once again through his Second Coming. Advent reminds us that what we see or think we know is not the whole story.

Stumps CAN sprout a shoot. Roots CAN grow a branch. Lions, lambs, leopards and goats CAN lie down together. And a little child can lead the way. In the Kingdom of God, what appears lost or broken or impossible proves to be the truest of the true things. Trees can come back to life after a storm. And thanks to the Good News of Jesus, we can, too. Come, Lord Jesus.
-Rev. Ashlee Alley Crawford
Clergy Recruitment and Development
Clergy Excellence

Prayer for Reflection

Come, Lord Jesus! As we celebrate your first coming through the form of a baby, may we eagerly await your return and be your hands and your feet bringing your Kingdom to Come as we wait. Amen. May it be so.


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