Ronceverte Charge of the United Methodist Church: Elizabeth Chapel & Trinity
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
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Living the Scriptures

 From the Desk of Rev. Dr. Felica Wooten Williams

              

THE SIGN OF THE VINE

READ: Focus on the WORD OF GOD by reading Genesis 22:1-24.

Key Verse: And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son (Genesis 22:13).

MEDITATE: Living in the Greenbrier Valley is a wonderful experience. Truly, this is God’s country! The greenery and Fall foliage paint a beautiful autumn masterpiece. Pondering the beauty of it all caused me to think about the origin of this area. In this landscape, brambles of common yet painful vines officially known as Smilax rotundifolia prevailed on the banks of what is now known as the Greenbrier River. Embedded in local history is the story of early surveyors who became entangled in the bramble or briers. This notion led me to think about the Biblical reference to being caught in the thicket in Genesis 22.  Here we find that Abraham had firsthand knowledge about how sacrificing your own son would feel.  Abraham in his obedience to God, took Isaac to the place of sacrifice. He intended to follow through as he had been instructed which was to sacrifice his own son. He was being challenged. He was challenged in terms of his diligence and obedience to God.  c  Providentially, there was a ram in the bush that took the place of Isaac in this sacrificial offering. Isaac navigated the difficult passage from childhood to his place as a man of God. As Genesis 22 illustrates, God Will Provide, our Jehovah Jireh. It reminds us that God will make a way out of no way. It is a reminder that God is with us! Our job is to trust Him and be obedient to His will. That’s why we sing, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey (UMH 467). c Genesis 22 contains a Messianic prophecy. It is a prophetic Word about God sacrificing His own son and providing the Ram in the bramble to die a substitutionary death for all of humankind. Jesus is the Messiah, the one who came to fix our separation from God; the one who restores us back to God. Indeed, Jesus is the Lamb of God who came to bear the sins of the world. Jesus, who knew no sin, paid the price and bought our pardon. Jesus lived, rose again and yet lives to free us from the shackles and entanglements of sin, death, hell and the grave. Because He lives, we also shall live (John 14:19). “Living He loved me, dying He saved me, buried he carried my sins all away, rising He justified and freed me forever. One day He’s coming back, that glorious day! Praise the Lord everybody!”[1]

 

PRAY: In response to the Word of God, let us pray an adaption of O Lamb of God:[2]

O Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. O Lamb of God, we give you thanks for the Greenbrier Valley of blessings. Lamb of God, grant us your peace. Amen.

 

CONTEMPLATE: Contemplate or think deeply about Genesis 22:1-24 and what it means to you. Know that you are called to obey and trust God even through tough times. Thank God that living in the Greenbrier Valley is a constant reminder that God Will Provide even in the most difficult situations. Is Jesus the Christ your ram in the bush? When you see the word Greenbrier, will you remember that Jesus is the sacrificial Lamb of God who lived and died to buy your pardon from sin? When you see the sign of the vine, will you remember that Jesus set you free from the entanglements of sin and death? What will you do in response to the Word? How is it with your soul?

 

© September 24, 2019. The Sign of the Vine. Rev. Dr. Felica Wooten Williams

[1] Lyrics from Pentecostal Praise Medley by Leonard Scott.

[2] Book of Worship (BOW) 201.


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Living the Scriptures with Lectio Divina

 

Lectio Divina is Latin for sacred reading. It is a tried and true method of studying sacred texts and living the Holy Scriptures. While other steps have been added down through the ages, the basic steps are: