Great Plains Daily Devotional for 1/3/2021

Today please be in prayer for

Medicine Lodge UMC
Wichita West District
Mount Hope UMC
Wichita West District
Pratt: First UMC
Wichita West District
Iuka UMC
Sawyer UMC
Wichita West District

Today's Lectionary Text

Isaiah 60:1-6

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth,
    and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
    and his glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light,
    and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Lift up your eyes and look around;
    they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from far away,
    and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms.
Then you shall see and be radiant;
    your heart shall thrill and rejoice,
because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you,
    the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
A multitude of camels shall cover you,
    the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
    all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
    and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.

Psalm 72:1-7

Give the king your justice, O God,
    and your righteousness to a king’s son.
May he judge your people with righteousness,
    and your poor with justice.
May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
    and the hills, in righteousness.
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
    give deliverance to the needy,
    and crush the oppressor.

May he live while the sun endures,
    and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
    like showers that water the earth.
In his days may righteousness flourish
    and peace abound, until the moon is no more.


Today's Devotional

“It kinda looks like God hugging someone,” said Owen, my 7-year-old grandson. I responded, “That’s exactly what I’ve always thought!”  He was holding up, very carefully, the puzzle nativity his mother had selected the previous day from our collection.  She had asked for one of our nativities for Christmas.  Wow!  It was supposed to be a gift to her.  In reality, it was truly a gift to us, her parents -- that she wanted one of our nativities. 

We had brought three with us to her house and the one she chose was one that nests Mary, Joseph, and the Baby the furthest in, then a section that becomes  a “stable,” and finally, the piece that appears to be God’s loving arms reaching around the whole scene.  Made of fine wood, it was given to us by a church secretary about 40 years ago. It was precious to us.
Wait!  There is one other piece. It is always wrapped separately.  It was made to come off, for storage.  It fits down on a little nail at the top of “God.”  It is the star.  We had to have the star.  A crucial piece.  Whew!  It was there!

Today’s scripture in Isaiah highlights the importance of that star.  “Arise, shine; for your light has come”.  What an energizing sentence.  Verbs, action words.  It seems to demand getting up and going.  The structure of this Nativity suggests that the Light to which reference is being made is part of God, of those encircling “arms,”  Isaiah mentions, too, that the Light is part of the glory of the Lord.

The energy of these words create new hope for the world.  Verse 2 refers to the thick darkness covering the earth.  Much was happening in the world at the time of the prophet that created darkness.  Today, at the very start of 2021, the world once again seems to be covered with great and suffocating darkness.  We need the glowing Light of this Epiphany star to dispel the darkness.  As we are energized by the star we are empowered to move forward into the new year in order to break up the darkness and to spread the Light.

Psalm 72 makes it clear that the Light breaking through the darkness requires that justice for the poor happen and freedom from oppression occur.  Righteousness, prosperity, and peace for the people are what the source of the Light desires deeply.

As 2021 gets underway, let us gaze on the Light.  We need to include in our “resolutions” acts that widen the hole in the darkness.  We are called to resolve to live, pushed out into the midst of the darkness, in ways that consider the neediest in the world, ways that promote  justice, that expand righteousness, that lead to adequate prosperity for everyone, and that create peace.

Let the Light surround you as you choose your resolutions.  Let those resolutions lead to a 2021 in which more people are aware of the Light, the great Love in their lives.

-Rev. Dianne Tombaugh
Retired Deacon
Wichita, KS

Prayer for Reflection

 Holy God, Help us to feel your caring, loving arms surrounding us and pushing us. Light the way to the actions we need to take, throughout the year ahead, to help bring about your Peace. Amen


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