Mission Devotional - December 17, 2015

Opening Prayer: O God, you offer us a refuge amidst the trials of life. May our waiting prepare us to see glimpses of your face, even as we long for the full appearance of your goodness throughout all the earth. Amen. (A Guide to Prayer for All Who Walk with God by Rueben P. Job, Norman Shawchuck, and John S. Mogabgab)

Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-10

Journal: How do these words strike your heart today? What do they bring to life within you? How do they disrupt or disturb you? How do they offer you hope?

Reflection: We will experience the minutes and hours and days of our lives differently when hope takes up residence. In a letter to Jim Forest, who at the time directed the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Thomas Merton wrote, "The real hope is not in something we think we can do, but in God, who is making something good out of it in some way we cannot see."

Hope is not dependent on peace in the land, justice in the world, and success in the business. Hope is willing to leave unanswered questions unanswered and unknown futures unknown. Hope makes you see God's guiding hand not only in the gentle and pleasant moments but also in the shadows of disappointments and darkness. (Turn My Mourning into Dancing by Henri Nouwen)

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Heath and Angela Many are now serving at Tenwek Hospital, a Christian mission hospital in rural Kenya, as medical missionaries in their respective fields (surgery and obstetrics/gynecology). Pray today for Angela who now has the responsibility of teaching their daughters due to the lack of a MK teacher. The Manys were featured recently in a video on the Reclamation Stories blog.

Safe Families for Children is an innovative collaboration between area churches, volunteers and child care professionals designed to support at-risk children and parents in need. Pray today for a young father who has been very ill and whose son has been with a host family. Pray for his recovery and for his family to find Jesus. For more information, contact Janet Cockrum at jcockrum@bethany.org.

Closing Prayer:

Holy preparation,
counterweight of surprise,
plum line of hospitality;
you are fresh hay quickly strewn,
soft linen bands newly torn,
to hold the One who is to come.
O Preparation, catcher of the off guard,
leveler of all things high and low;
you are the smoother of rough edges
and bearer of good news.
Come, reveal our webs of apathy
with holy, sweeping light.
Amen. (Behold! by Pamela C. Hawkins)