By The Rev. Whitney Altopp
The ark of God was the most prized possession of the Israelite people, giving them a sense of place and identity wherever they might be. Like all things of value, the fine line between reverence and idolization was sometimes hard to observe. The desperation of the Hebrew people in their battle against the Philistines led them to reach for the power of their most prized possession in order to survive. Instead, they lost it all, the reality of which was too much for Eli and his daughter-in-law to bear. The unfortunate illness of the Philistines and the ability for the milch cows to find the Hebrew people without any direction illustrates God’s supreme power which will not be thwarted. Indeed, a lack of reverence of God leads to certain death.
Psalm 81 echoes this same point, reminding people to listen to God.
In John 16, still giving his Farewell Discourse, Jesus prepares the disciples for what is to come. He assures them of his presence through the Spirit’s coming when he is gone. Knowing that they will find the future disorienting and difficult, he offers them something to hold onto by telling them of what is to come. Jesus goes ahead of them into their unknown future and provides for them there through the presence of the Spirit.
What in your life reminds you of the supreme power of God?
What unknown future event do you need the Spirit to go into ahead of you?
God of power, nothing diminishes you; give me strength to acknowledge your power and presence in my life so that others might see your glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Rev. Whitney Altopp is Vicar of St. Thomas Church, Whitemarsh in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania