A Place of Shelter - Devotion for the Wisconsin Annual Conference
“Consider carefully, act justly; at high noon provide your shade like night. Hide the outcasts; keep the fugitives hidden. Let the outcasts of Moab live among you. Be a hiding place for them from the destroyer." (Isaiah 16:3-4)
Fred Craddock tells the following story from his childhood: “When I was growing up, we lived on a farm. My sister and I would find different ways to entertain ourselves in between doing the chores we needed to do for the family. One of our favorite games was to play hide-and-go-seek.
“One time we were playing. My sister was it and I found a great place to hide. Under the front porch at our house. My sister was looking and looking and she couldn’t find me.
“At first, I just laughed to myself. Thinking, ‘she is never going to find me.’ Then it started getting serious. ‘Oh no, she is never going to find me.’
“So, when I heard her coming by, I stuck my foot out just a little. She saw it and yelled, ‘I found you.’
“I crawled out from under the porch and said, ‘Aw, shoot. You found me.’
“But what I learned on that day is that I wanted to be found.”
I love this story. I believe Fred Craddock is right. I believe we want to be found. I believe that all of us have a yearning to be seen, and honored, and recognized for who we are.
In our scripture, the author of Isaiah is reflecting on how the neighboring country of Moab is being overrun by an invading power. It has forced the citizens of Moab to flee to Israel to escape that power. But that now means these citizens are in a desperate situation. They are vulnerable. The author of Isaiah invites the people of faith at that time to see those who are hurting, to recognize them, to care about them and for them.
This is the legacy of faith that we stand in today. In a world where there are so many hurting, in a world where we also are hurting, our God invites us to see those around us -- to care for the hurting, the vulnerable, those at risk. May God give us the courage to be a place that provides shelter for others.
Prayer: Gracious God, when we are hurting, it is really hard to see others who are hurting around us. In our world of immense change and turmoil, teach us how to be your presence in this world. Guide us so we can be moved to compassion to care for our neighbors. Give us the courage we need to find those who need to be found for you. In the hope Jesus offers us, Amen.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.