This is the 200th edition of Starting With Scripture. This weekly devotional was first published on March 5, 2018 replacing the Spirit Calendar and the Spirited Wednesday devotions published by the historic CT Conference.
Today's author is Rev. Eric S. Anderson, pastor of Church of the Holy Cross UCC in Hilo, Hawai’i, former Associate Conference Minister of Proclamation, Identity, and Communication for the historic CT Conference, and former editor of the Spirit Calendar.
Scripture: Luke 3:16 (NRSV)
John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Reflection: You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
A new year at hand? Well, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
The two hundredth edition of Starting with Scripture? Well, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
A grubby, harsh-voiced prophet scrubbing people in a muddy stream? Well, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Anyone who has lived for a while can tell you that the times and seasons change. Tides ebb and flow. Volcanoes rest and roar. Even pandemics find both their beginnings and (we fervently pray) their ends. Perhaps the truest thing we could ever tell a newborn would be, “Welcome to the world, little one. I hope you like the way it’s different tomorrow.”
Different, however, is not the same thing as better. John the Baptist, for all his uncivil directness, proclaimed something (or rather someone) better. I can imagine him crowing it with a laugh: “You think I’m something? You ain’t seen nothing yet!”
Christian hope is the belief not just in different, but in better. It is the assertion (to borrow from John Robinson) that there is more truth and light yet to be known. It is the confidence in God’s power in us to do “even greater things than these” (John 14:12). It is the commitment to work toward a grander day.
So let it be with Starting with Scripture. Oh, there will be rough days, especially in a globe afflicted with a pandemic. John and Jesus tell us that. But the greatness lies ahead even more than it rests behind. There will be words that revive the spirit, touch the heart, and inspire the soul.
Holy One, we cling to the hope of blessings that lie ahead. Give us strength for the journey to the better days in which we trust. By your guidance and your wisdom, may we be part of bringing them into being. Amen.
New Prayer Requests:
We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayers of Intercession:
- For the families and friends of more than 820,000 who have died due to the Covid-19 disease, and all those impacted by increasing numbers of positive Covid cases.
- For the victims and their families of the 693 mass shootings carried out in 2021. That is the highest total of mass shootings recorded in a single year since gunviolencearchive.org began recording data in 2014.
- For those struggling with mental health illnesses.
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For the days we get to share with family, friends, or even alone in places of beauty.
This Week in History:
January 5, 1972 (50 years ago) President Richard Nixon signs the bill authorizing the development of a space shuttle. The $5.5 million project aimed to develop a "reusable" space vehicle to replace one-use rocket launched capsules. The first shuttle, Columbia, launched 9 years later on April 12, 1981. The last shuttle to fly, the Atlantis, launched on July 8, 2011 and returned 13 days later. In all, 5 shuttles flew 135 missions in the 30 years the fleet was active.
“Study the past if you would define the future.”
Former Associate Conference Minister for Proclamation, Identity, and Communication, CT Conference. Currenyly serving as Pastor of Church of the Holy Cross in Hilo, Hawaii.