Great Plains Daily Devotional for 5/5/2022

Today please be in prayer for

Brock UMC
Johnson, NE UMC
Missouri River District
Brownville UMC
Nemaha UMC
Missouri River District
Elkhorn Hills UMC
Missouri River District
Falls City First UMC
Rulo Trinity UMC
Missouri River District

Today's Lectionary Text

Psalm 80

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
    you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
    before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
    and come to save us!

Restore us, O God;
    let your face shine, that we may be saved.

O Lord God of hosts,
    how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears,
    and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us the scorn of our neighbors;
    our enemies laugh among themselves.

Restore us, O God of hosts;
    let your face shine, that we may be saved.

You brought a vine out of Egypt;
    you drove out the nations and planted it.
You cleared the ground for it;
    it took deep root and filled the land.
The mountains were covered with its shade,
    the mighty cedars with its branches;
it sent out its branches to the sea,
    and its shoots to the River.
Why then have you broken down its walls,
    so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
The boar from the forest ravages it,
    and all that move in the field feed on it.

Turn again, O God of hosts;
    look down from heaven, and see;
have regard for this vine,
    the stock that your right hand planted.
They have burned it with fire, they have cut it down;
    may they perish at the rebuke of your countenance.
But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
    the one whom you made strong for yourself.
Then we will never turn back from you;
    give us life, and we will call on your name.

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
    let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Today's Devotional

Through the years I have served the church, I have been profoundly blessed in each place I’ve served, but it hasn’t been until the last few years that I’ve become seriously concerned by some of what I’m seeing.
 
Presently, I serve in south-central Nebraska, serving the church I was called from as a layperson who’d attended here for two years. While it’s been 23 years since I lived in Holdrege, there is one quality I distinctly remember from when I lived here previously. I remember how incredibly rich the soil in Phelps County is, and I remember how it seemed there were pockets of water where rain and snowmelt used to make small ponds visible from area highways.
 
Sadly, in the last few months, I’ve witnessed no fewer than three significant wildfires and wind like I don’t ever remember seeing in Nebraska in my lifetime. These wildfires have destroyed grassland, fences, homes, and taken lives. And now many of the visible highway ponds are dried up.
 
The reading from Psalm 80 seems an appropriate fit for the lament I feel. For some, there is a hopeful desire for God to restore what has been lost – as though people are waiting on God to step in and save what’s left. I can’t help but wonder, however, if God doesn’t say back, “I have given you everything you need to reverse things, and I will continue to provide guidance, but just as caring for the poor and destitute is up to you, so is taking care of what I give you to sustain life; now, sustain life.”
 
Reflecting on those words, I am reminded how God instills hope in humanity hope for a reason: to remember that just as God is with us, it is possible for us to be with one another and all of creation because we aren’t as helpless as dried up ponds or wildfires might indicate. God empowers us and equips us to care for one another because God cares for us.
 
--Rev. Mark Crist
Holdredge First UMC
mcrist@greatplainsumc.org 
 
 

Prayer for Reflection

Please pray with me, Our hope is in you, God. Our hope is in you to restore humankind and creation by giving us the awareness of the opportunities you’ve placed in our lives to make that happen. Call it naïve, Lord, but give the assurance necessary to your children to know that your face shines upon us, and we will be saved. Amen.
 

 

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