Great Plains Daily Devotional for 8/20/2019

Today please be in prayer for

Elizabeth Winger Young
Satanta UMC
Dodge City District
Wesley Young
Satanta UMC
Dodge City District
Larry Danforth
Scott City: First UMC
Dodge City District
Eddie Pennington
Montezuma UMC
Sublette UMC
Dodge City District

Today's Lectionary Text

Acts 7:44-53 

“Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the covenant law with them in the wilderness. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. After receiving the tabernacle, our ancestors under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built a house for him.

“However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands.As the prophet says:

“‘Heaven is my throne,
    and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me?
says the Lord.
    Or where will my resting place be?
Has not my hand made all these things?’

“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”

Today's Devotional

Tabernacle.  This is easily one of my favorite words—I love the mouthfeel when I say it, I love the way it sounds.  To me it evokes mystery, holiness—a liminal space where the veil between this world and the eternal lifts and each can be seen and felt.  
 
I remember clearly a white-water rafting trip one summer when I was a youth.  We camped under the stars and this particular year we added an extra tent to the middle of our circle of tents.  A tabernacle, if you will.  I remember spending a hot holy afternoon in that tent, soaking in God’s presence, trying to grasp at extra closeness.  
 
As I reflect on that experience and these words Stephen speaks before the Sanhedrin, I ponder what it could be saying to us today.  Are we not any different?  Do we not get caught up in the “places” we build and reserve for God?  Have we not received the “Law given by angels and not kept it?”  Have we not resisted the Holy Spirit?
 
Like our ancestors, we can get caught up in physical church buildings thinking we can capture God only in this space.  And while, of course, church buildings can be necessary and are vital to the communities we serve—we must remember that our God is not contained in that space. 
 
“‘Heaven is my throne,
    and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me?
says the Lord.
    Or where will my resting place be?
50 Has not my hand made all these things?’”
 
Let us not get so tied to those physical buildings that we miss that the whole universe is the tabernacle.  God is in us, God is in all matter—each and every single atom, that was, is, and ever will be.  Those same atoms and particles make up you and me.  We are literally tabernacles.  We don’t have to reach for extra closeness.  All we need to do is be still and focus on that sound of sheer silence that is within us and is all around us.
Nicole Guthrie
Admin. Assistant to BOOM Registrar and
Clergy Recruitment and Development Coordinator
nguthrie@greatplainsumc.org

Prayer for Reflection

Uncontainable Mystery, let us not be stubborn like our ancestors and resist your Spirit.  When we act in ways that limit you to the walls of our buildings, remind us that being in ministry and being the body of Christ are not confined to those spaces.  May we act in ways that don’t box you in and forgive us when we do.  Help us to seek you in the stillness.  Amen.



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This Week's Lectionary
Uncontainable Mystery, let us not be stubborn like our ancestors and resist your Spirit.  When we act in ways that limit you to the walls of our buildings, remind us that being in ministry and being the body of Christ are not confined to those spaces.  May we act in ways that don’t box you in and forgive us when we do.  Help us to seek you in the stillness.  Amen.
 
 
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