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Tell your children, who tell their children, who tell…

September 13, 2023

Daily Scripture

Joel 1:1-3, 2:12-13, 3:21

(This week we share videos highlighting ways members of the Resurrection family have shared faith. Today Matt Bisel and his daughter Linden share how prayer unites them in shared faith.)

1:1 The LORD’s word that came to Joel, Pethuel’s son:
2 Hear this, elders;
pay attention, everyone in the land!
Has anything like this ever happened in your days,
or in the days of your ancestors?
3 Tell it to your children,
and have your children tell their children,
and their children tell their children.

2:12 Yet even now, says the LORD,
return to me with all your hearts,
with fasting, with weeping, and with sorrow;
13 tear your hearts
and not your clothing.
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is merciful and compassionate,
very patient, full of faithful love,
and ready to forgive.

3:21 I will forgive their bloodguilt,
which I had not forgiven.
I will act on their account;
I will not pardon the guilty.
The LORD dwells in Zion.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The short prophetic book of Joel is a bit of a mystery. It mentions no kings or external events to help scholars date its writing, and we know nothing about the prophet “Joel, Pethuel’s son” (Joel 1:1) or about his father. Yet Joel’s profound, heartfelt appeal for repentance echoes for every generation of God’s people. Our God, the prophet said, is “very patient,” “ready to forgive.” God’s mercy is always there, but we can only claim it honestly when we truly turn away from what is wrong in our lives.

  • “Tear your hearts and not your clothing” may need explanation today. “In the ancient world people would tear their clothing to show that they were sorry and wanted a change…. Joel urges people to make sincere and lasting changes and not simply outward signs.” * Jesus, John the Baptist and the apostles preached that same message. What is the difference, in your own life and those of younger people you influence, between trying to look sorry and choosing to truly change?
  • In teaching about repentance, you need to share that “Repentance is to be based on who God is, not on anything of the one who repents. The descriptors [in Joel 2:13] consist of four adjectives (“merciful, compassionate, very patient, full of faithful love”) and a participle (“ready to forgive”)…. The whole section expresses characteristics of God, not simply actions that he performs sporadically.” ** How can you model and teach true repentance for future generations?

Lord God, if I try to fool myself (or you) with fine words while my heart stays unchanged, you see right through me. By your Spirit, move me to yearn for a new heart and a faithful spirit deep inside. Amen.

GPS Insights

Gwyn Thomas

Gwyn Thomas

Gwyn Thomas serves in donor relations at Resurrection. She’s a Boston native and moved to Kansas City in 2020. Her husband Blake is a provisional elder in the UMC and is a Congregational Care Pastor at Resurrection Leawood. Her favorite past-times include pottery, hiking, frisbee, trying new restaurants, and spending time with her daughter and their large orange cat, Tuna.

This sermon series is especially relevant to my home right now. We welcomed a baby girl, Della, in July and have been soaking up all of the newborn snuggles (pictures below). I stare at her all day and just wonder who she’s going to be. I tell her that I have hopes for her to be kind and to laugh a lot and to be treated with love. I have the very important responsibility of teaching her about God and encouraging her in her faith as she grows up.

This Sunday we decided we would venture out and take her to worship for the first time. As I sat there listening to the sermon, I was encouraged to be in a church that values kids, youth, and all generations. I am no longer thinking about my own church experience, but the church experience for someone I have the privilege to raise. My deep desire is for my own child to grow up in a church where they are loved, prayed for, and encouraged along every step of their spiritual journey.  Knowing that God has a plan for the spaces she’ll one day run around in and sing songs about Jesus brings me so much comfort.

I feel confident the church will welcome her with radical love, no matter who she grows to be. It’s so unique to be a part of a church that would do that. As a mom, that’s all I can ask for. Thank you to all of you, my church family, for praying for the future generations of our church which include my sweet girl.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* J. Andrew Dearman, study note on Joel 2:13 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 1449 OT.
** David W. Baker, Joel, Obadiah, Malachi (The NIV Application Commentary). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006, p. 82.