Respond in Faith

Sunday, June 9

6-9By Wim van Klinken, director of International headquarters

But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go home and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterwards make something for yourself and your son.”

—1 Kings 17:12–13

We can view the story of Elijah’s meeting with the widow of Zarephath as a miracle story in which God provides food. But a closer look at the two verses above and the widow’s response that follows shows us the miracle is a response in faith.

To the widow, Elijah is a foreigner who has faith in a different god. Her faith governs her certainty that the future is dire for her and her son, and they are about to die of starvation. But Elijah shares this unbelievable message of hope and says, “Do not be afraid,” followed by the bold request to give him some food first!

The story does not tell us, but there must have been something about Elijah, the way he approached her, the way he talked to her, or the look on his face. He brought faith, he brought hope. But most of all, she responded in faith. She trusted the man of God who asked her to believe in the future and even to risk the welfare of her family. “She went and did as Elijah said, so she as well as he and her household ate for many days.”

This story makes me wonder how much faith I have in the stranger, in the foreigner. Am I willing to listen to someone else, not of my tradition, who brings a message of hope? Or am I led by voices of fear for the existence of myself and those I love–voices that make me selfish and not willing to generously share the resources I have? I also wonder if I have enough faith to help the stranger, like Elijah did, and share a message of hope for the future, even when the future looks dire.

Prayer for Peace
Faithful God, let us take this message of faith to heart. May we be like Elijah, who had faith to share with a stranger. May we be like the widow, who responded in faith to one who was strange to her. May we share the message of hunger satisfied, hope, in the future, and in the peace of Christ.

Spiritual Practice: Welcoming Unity in Diversity
Meditate on Unity in Diversity. Create a large circle with your arms. See and feel the diverse people God invites inside the sanctuary of Christ’s peace represented by this circle.

Who is easiest to welcome? Whom do you struggle to include? Confess the dividing walls between you and people too different or “dangerous” to invite into your spiritual home. Ask God to forgive and heal barriers that keep us from sharing with one another.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will not hesitate to share my witness with a stranger.

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