A Tight Vessel

Tuesday, October 14

10-14By Cindy L. Korf of North Platte, Nebraska, USA

And when they were buried in the deep, there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like a dish, and also they were tight like the ark of Noah.

—Ether 3:8

In the story of the Jaredites, God directs them to cross the ocean to a choice land. I would have thought, “This will be a pleasant trip—with peaceful ocean breezes and smooth waters.” On the contrary, God told the brother of Jared to build vessels “tight as a dish” because there would be waves that would cover and swallow the vessels.

I often think that if I’m traveling the path God directed me to travel, it should be “easy sailing,” with smooth waters and pleasant ocean breezes. But, like the Jaredites, the journey is not always smooth. At times, the journey fills with turbulent seas, violent storms, and dark nights of the soul. The miracle of it, though, is that God provided direction for the Jaredites to have the means—tight vessels—for a safe, though not necessarily easy, journey.

Even for us today, God knows there are difficulties and provides the means for us to have a safe journey through the presence of the Holy Spirit, who never leaves us.

Prayer for Peace Nurturing God, assure us of your presence when our souls are dark. Bring us through the rough waters to the peace of Christ.

Spiritual Practice: Psalm Writing The psalms are prayers of honesty and trust. The psalmist trusts God’s presence in times of fear and failure, joy and plenty, growth and change. Write a short psalm-prayer expressing to God the truth about your physical, emotional, and spiritual state. What are your deepest feelings, longings, and needs? What prayer of praise, intercession, or petition flows from you as you consider your life and the life of God’s world?

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will set aside expectations that life will be easy. I will prepare for the journey and have faith in your care.

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Smile…God Is with Us

Thursday, February 27

2-27By Peggy Michael of Cantonment, Florida, USA

Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

—Romans 14:19

We often enjoyed fishing in a small stream near our family home. One summer day, we gathered there and dropped our hooks in the water. As the morning wore on, young Kim lost interest. Her parents asked me if I would take her home. So I lifted her onto my shoulders and chose the shortcut through the light woods.

Our family home was visible in the distance. At first, I easily threaded my way among the trees and vines. Then the going became more difficult. I told Kim to keep her face close to me and hold on tight. I assured her she would be safe, and soon we would break into open space where we could see.

Kim doubted it and questioned me, “Where are Mama and Daddy?” I told her they were still fishing where we had left them.

A few steps later she pleaded, “Where is Granny B’s house?” I pointed the way, but at that time she still could not see it. She felt we were lost and insisted, “Where is God?” I tried to put her mind at peace and assured her God was with us. Then I smiled as we returned to the open road with home in sight.

As I walked the familiar road, it reminded me of a conversation between a grandfather and his young grandson. At each opportunity the older man pointed out the wonder of God’s creation. Finally, the boy responded, “Grandpa, you think about God a lot, don’t you?” He replied, “Son, I hardly think about anything else.”

I find that when I view the world through the eyes of a child, I see God more clearly. At these times, I am compelled to worship the Creator of all—the one who walks beside us in the dark forests of our lives, and on the open roads—the one who brings us peace.

Prayer for Peace
Tender Shepherd, help us assure one another of your presence. Give us faith to know that when we lose our way, you are with us.

Spiritual Practice: Listening to Children
Sit in your quiet place and center your heart and mind on God’s presence. Spend several minutes asking God to bring into your awareness the names and images of children in your life. You may see their faces or hear their voices as you receive these impressions. Listen deeply to the unique gifts and needs of the children who come to mind. Offer a prayer of blessing for each child and the needs you perceive. If you feel led, you may want to write a note or card and give a message of affirmation and love to each child.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will step out in faith, knowing you will be with me on my journey.

Accept God’s Mission

Sunday, June 30

6-30By Dale Luffman, Council of Twelve Apostles

Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven…Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here… but Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” As they continued walking and talking…Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, father!…But when he could no longer see him…he picked up the mantle of Elijah…

—2 Kings 2:1–2, 11–13

We can learn many of the skills for ministry. This is my experience. We often seek a minister of high competence, one who has gained the community’s confidence of faith. We look to people who embark on the vocation of ministry. This is the case for Elisha as he looks to Elijah, who sought him out to cloak him with his prophetic mantle. God called Elisha to be a minister to promote God’s purposes for Israel.

Elisha serves Elijah and receives on-the-job training. Developing the skills of ministry is not easy. It is based on more than desire or personality. Formation of disciples is hard work! That is why Community of Christ tries to aid developing ministry by offering seminary and Ministerial Education and Discipleship Studies courses. Elisha comes to understand that preparing for ministry is not only hard, but costly, sometimes confusing, and exhausting. Elisha stretches as he is tested.

Often, ministry does test us. A competent, learned mentor like Elijah is significant to the Elishas of this world. They help those who embark on developing the gifts of ministry that honor God and serve the needs of people of faith.

But it is hard to let go of those who wisely lead and teach us. We find it easier to follow than lead. Elisha discovers this. Grieving, Elisha nonetheless takes up the mantle of Elijah and extends the prophetic witness. He does not give up! Elijah had called Elisha to vigilance and to faithful witness so Yahweh’s mission might be evident in Israel’s life. Elisha receives the testimony that he needs in Elijah’s departure.

He now picks up his mantle and is confirmed in his new role of ministry.

Prayer for Peace
We are listening for your call, God. We await our part in Christ’s mission. We will prepare ourselves as disciples to share Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: Develop Disciples to Serve
Read and reflect on Psalm 42:1–2. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to respond to people and their needs. The call to journey inward can restore us in times of physical or spiritual depletion.

When you are thirsty, dry, and empty, listen prayerfully again to the psalm: “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” As you feel restored, thank God for the opportunity to be a responding, serving disciple. Remember this exercise as you drink water throughout the day.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will pick up my mantle and accept a new role.