1 Kings 19:1-15a, Psalm 42, Galatians 3:23-29, Luke 8:26-39
1 Kings 19:1-15a:
- Elijah sitting under the tree - How many people in the scriptures end up sitting forlornly under trees? Thankfully, God always find them there!
- "Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you." There's multiple layers to this sentence, no?
- "What are you doing here?" Another multi-layered question, and I wonder how often God wants to demand that same answer from us. What are we doing here?
- This time, God is in the sheer silence. But God is in the fire and the earthquake too sometimes. Where do you look for God? Where do you find God? Where has God found you?
- I think Elijah's repetition of his situation is interesting. Why does he have to repeat himself? In a different setting, he and God are now able to have a real conversation. Elijah, so intent on his woes, can now listen to God.
- "As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God." No wonder these beautiful words have been set to music and are so enduring. We long for God like we long for a drink of water. But just like we try to quench our thirst with soda and coffee and a multitude of things that aren't water, so we do with God, with equal success.
- This psalm is a pep talk from the psalmist to the psalmist's own soul. Pattern: Soul - I feel alone and abandoned. Self to soul - why so upset? Don't be down, but hope and trust in God. A testimony of faith, but also a prayer to God to be what the prayer hopes for.
- We are no longer subject to a disciplinarian. I can't help but think of schoolchildren as I read this passage, and the joy they would feel of hearing that they no longer have to report to the principal's office, or similar. Good news, this new way of being with God in Christ.
- "clothed yourselves with Christ." What great imagery! What is it like to be dressed in Jesus? To put on a Jesus-outfit, so that we look and act like him?
- No longer Jew or Greek, no longer male or female, no longer slave or free, no longer these arbitrary things we come up with to define and divide. No, we have a new identity, one in Christ. This is the true baptismal liturgy. We put on Christ, we are one in him, and we are new creations, defined by Christ rather than anything else.
- Compare this to Mark's account of these events.
- Notice the isolation of the man with demons.
- The demon equates Jesus commanding him to leave the man as Jesus "tormenting" him. I wonder how often we skew in our minds the good that God is seeking for us, the healing that God tries to work in us, when we cling to the unhealthy, hurtful ways we know.
- Pay attention to the relationship between Legion/pigs and the occupying Romans.
- "But Jesus sent him away." Why do you think Jesus wouldn't let the man follow him?
- How would you have reacted to what Jesus did with the demons and the pigs?