February 28, 2013

If you think you are standing

By Heather Goertzen, resident director
SCRIPTURE: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 (NRSV)
DEVOTIONAL:

Most of my life I have known the protection of the Cloud. I have poignant stories to tell about seas parting for both myself and those I love. I have lived in various communities who drink from (and draw me back to) the Rock who is Christ. Sometimes – even usually – it’s easy to feel caught up in the current of these “in-groups,” all chosen and royal, you “Children of the Most High God” you.

This is precisely why I need the Church calendar to bring me to the Savior-waiting season of Advent and today, to the self-excavation of Lent. The fasts and feasts make monotony impossible and make way for both gratitude and humility.

So if you think you’re standing – all satiated by the spiritual and tucked into the cozy hug of that cloud – not so quick. Watch your step. In fact, you might already be down. These are the messages of Scripture that startle me from the secure (along with Matt. 21:31 and Rev. 3:17). The plot switches and we, chosen cloud-dwellers, have to take pause. Just being here, at this table, just having the right juice in my chalice may not be enough? Have my hymnsings become more lullaby than worship? Is my service more about me than the Other? What I do when I get up from this table, the places I crawl for comfort, distraction, ego-soothing may reveal more about my gods than I care to let on.

So if you think you are standing…

SCRIPTURE: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 (NRSV)
I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness.
Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play.’ We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents. And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

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Comments (13)

  1. Very good meditation and message. Thanks!

    Ora Troyer February 28, 2013 |
  2. Ouch….you are so “on target” in my estimation. What I wonder is how to be grateful, for everything from health, to safety, to enough food and still have a genuine involvement in justice and peace-making as we retreat to the safety and beauty of our religious communities? Provocative posting. Thanks.

    Jep Hostetler February 28, 2013 |
  3. Very well put, Heather. Serene and serious. God save me from presumption, and yet I must do my part in co-operating with Him.
    Lenten Blessings,
    Mervyn

    Mervyn Carapiet February 28, 2013 |
  4. SO well done. Thank you Heather.

    Brenda Shelly February 28, 2013 |
  5. I remember when I was at GC and discovered and clung to verse 13. Thanks, Heather.

    Wilma Shank February 28, 2013 |
  6. I really appreciated the message you chose from scripture and the message you shared from your heart. I have undergone my own kind of lenten observance through illness and eye problems, and I have struggled with my own selfishness regarding my health. In your devotion, I recognize the battle between my stubborn self-reliance and the utter submission and reliance on God which leads to gratitude and humility. Thanks for sharing.

    Allyson February 28, 2013 |
  7. Helping to show us “the way out.” Thanks, Heather.

    Judy Weaver February 28, 2013 |
  8. This is the best article I’ve seen in the Goshen Easter series, over the several years I’ve been following it.. Thanks, Heather. Also so glad to be re-acquainted with this from Paul, dilated by your comments. I had never gotten inside this section of 1 Corinthians before. Kudos!

    Blair Randle February 28, 2013 |
  9. Thank you for a very relevant and poignant devotional this morning. Yes, I am tempted to just be content with being part of the in-group and assuming that all is well. Thank you for the challenge not to assume too much.

    Jack Heppner February 28, 2013 |
  10. Thank you, Heather, for highlighting this part of the Word for me today and for infusing it with a personal aspect that makes it resonate in me, a sister traveler.

    Diana Thomas February 28, 2013 |
  11. Thank you Heather. Just when you think you are safe. Wump! Down! It happens to all of us. We are tested, sure. Must be for that matter. Especially during Lent. In fact we self-inflict it, don’t we? Fasting, praying, sacrifices are indeed self-inflicted. With good reason. The Good Friday ultimate sacrifice says it all. I guess this is the condensed version; none of us is perfect and we all have something to atone for!

    Debbie Lackowitz February 28, 2013 |
  12. Thank you for a soul-searching insight into a scripture passage we often dismiss without much thought.

    Leanne Schertz February 28, 2013 |
  13. Thank you for this meditation! The last paragraph, especially the last sentence, speaks to me.

    Esther H February 28, 2013 |