Great Plains Daily Devotional for 9/15/2022

Today please be in prayer for

Hays First UMC
Hays District
Healy UMC
Utica, KS UMC
Hays District
Hoxie UMC
Selden UMC
Hays District
Hoxie UMC
Selden UMC
Hays District

Today's Lectionary Text

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Today's Devotional

Are you going to the State Fair? That is a question people are starting to ask as we get closer and closer to opening day. Your favorite part may be the exhibits, the animals, the shows, the rides, or, yes, … the food!

As a 4-H’er and also as a resident of Hutchinson, Kansas growing up, I have to admit that after I graduated from high school, I didn’t really care all that much to go to the State Fair. You see, our County Fair was also on the same fairgrounds as the State Fair, so it didn’t really seem all that special. I spent many nights over the years sleeping in the rabbit barn to keep the animals safe, and, yes, a couple years when I had bucket calves, I even spent the night sleeping in the cow barn! It is a fun memory now, but back as a youth, it was a grind! While in college, I would work in one of the restaurants at the fair, so I remember leaving exhausted. There also is the challenge of getting around in the city of Hutchinson during the fair. Roads are closed off, cars are parked everywhere, and the traffic increases during those two weeks. For all of these reasons, I didn’t care all that much about going back to the State Fair.

I didn’t care all that much until…I had children! And, suddenly seeing the fair through their eyes, made it all worth it. I have enjoyed watching my daughter show her rabbits and other exhibits, and in a couple of years, my son will be old enough to compete as well. They love the exhibits, the animals, the food, and most importantly, the rides.

It is amazing how much a change in my situation has created a new love for something I had come to take for granted. It probably doesn’t hurt that I also now live in Wichita and don’t have to worry about the increased traffic!

I wonder if this also could be said about the faith. Sometimes we can get into a rut, or maybe we get cross-wise with other believers. Perhaps we hear about problems that the larger denomination is having, and it is easy to want to turn out back on something that once was so important to us. Perhaps we just get so busy with everything else in life and somehow the priority of growing in our faith or attending churchand having time to fellowship with one another gradually becomes less important. A negative feedback loop gets going, and it no longer feels that coming back to nourishing our soul in the church is important. But, we all know that it is.

This month (September 25), we have the opportunity to take a step in the right direction with our “Back to Church” Sunday. If you have found yourself feeling ambivalent about coming back after the pandemic, or if you have gotten into habits that have drawn you away from worship, then this is the week to come back! If you have been coming, but have noticed that you have missed seeing your friends, you might give them a call and see if they’d like to sit with you! We are having a pretty big party after worship is over – the Block Party! So, it’s a great day to see the church with new eyes and enjoy the fellowship that comes when being around one another again. If you want to help with the party, and you know we need lots of help, please get in touch with Beth Strickler to let her know you are willing!

As we come together, I hope we are able to see with new eyes and experience the joy of living a life of faith. We are all changed people as we come out of the pandemic, but in our current environment we need to know the love of Christ even more. And so we pray, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Amen.

-Pastor Kimberly Dickerson Oard
Wichita East Heights UMC

*devotion used with permission


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