Lection Connection - Spirit Sightings

September 15, 2019: Storm Sunday

From Ray McGinnis

In recent weeks the United States has had numerous mass shootings. At a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas, 22 people were killed and another 24 injured. In Midland and Odessa, Texas, a man who had been fired from his job killed seven people and died in a shootout with police. Twenty-two others were injured. And in Dayton, Ohio, ten people were killed and 27 others were injured. The mass shootings variously occurred in night clubs, shopping complexes, highways, and malls. 

In early September Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas and caused damage along the southeast coast of the United States. It left the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport in the Abaco Islands completely underwater. Prime Minister Hubert Minnis described the island as being “decimated” and added “we are in the midst of an historic tragedy.” He described the devastation as “unprecedented.”

In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has lost a vote by 328 to 301. This paves the way for members of parliament to vote to delay the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union. Johnson lost the vote when 21 Conservative MPs voted against his government. Johnson, in turn, ejected the rebel Tory’s from his caucus. 

These stories are among the recent headlines in international news. Often the circumstances and forces involved in turbulent news stories leave ordinary people feeling overwhelmed, helpless, sad or angry. Many Christians try to respond to the news of the day through prayer, acts of charity and studying the scripture in small groups. 
Explore… Psalm 29

  • In Psalm 29 God is portrayed as powerful and full of majesty. God breaks trees in half (with lightening), shakes the land with earthquakes, brings windstorms that “cause the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare.” In addition to ascribing to God the power to create weather events, some find in these verses a metaphor for the storms of life God brings to us. 
  • Do you think God tests you (people) with “storms?”
  • What are the “storms of life” you notice other people going through?
  • A traditional hymn in the church asks “Will Your Anchor Hold in the Storms of Life?” Do you think this is a relevant question to discuss among followers of Jesus today?
  • What news stories are like a storm for you? How do you respond to turbulent stories in the news? Where do you find your strength to carry on?

Prayer links… God of earthquake, hurricane, drought and thunder, help us to learn what it is to life in this world you have created for us. Help us for find a way into the eye of the storm, that we may find a quiet center in the midst of all that whirls and breaks the cedars and oaks. In the storms of life we face, help us to pay attention to what is happening to us. Help us to find your peace in the midst of the chaos. In Christ we pray. Amen. 

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