Pentecost 6 Sermon: Never Alone
The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 8C
26 June AD 2016
Title: Never Alone (MP3 Audio)
Summary: We all experience bouts of loneliness, of feeling that no one cares. Few, probably, match the sense of abandonment that Elijah expressed on Mount Horeb. Perhaps those in nursing homes such as the audience for this sermon come as close as anyone.
Yet Elijah wasn’t truly alone — neither are we nor are those who gathered tonight to hear these words. Each of us is intimately known and deeply loved by God. Each is special in His sight and He desires to abandon no one.
Christ guaranteed our place with the Father by allowing Himself to be forsaken by God and man. Abandoned on the cross, He paid for our sins so that He might draw all people to Him. He faced this ultimate loneliness that we might be together with Him and with each other in the communion of His Church.
The Holy Spirit brings us together to encourage us. He also gathers the believers that we might be prepared to reach out to the lonely and marginalized among us. He draws us out of our bouts of self-pity and leads us to have pity on others, meeting their needs with God’s love in Christ Jesus.
Text: Behold, the word of the Lord came to [Elijah], and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.”
And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.
And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”
And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.”
And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?”
And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him. 1 Kings 19:9b-21
Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Never Alone.
NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.
Other Readings: Psalm 16; Galatians 5:1, 13-25; Luke 9:51-62