lectionary focus: Isaiah 43:16-21
prop: canoe paddle
This is a canoe paddle. This is used in a canoe on a lake or a river. On a lake, the paddle helps you get the canoe from one place to another. But on a river, the paddle really just helps you steer because the flowing water of the river does most of the work of moving you downstream. And as you go downstream in a river, there are some places where there are lots of rocks and the water piles up in a big, frothy mess. These are called rapids. And they can be kind of tricky to get your canoe to go through. When I was learning to canoe, my husband, Mr. Bill, taught me how to handle the rapids. You lean forward towards the rapid. See if you lean forwards in the canoe you put the weight in the front and the canoe just swooshes through the frothy water easy peasy. If you get scared and lean away from the rapid, you put the weight in the back and water will spill into the canoe and flip it so that you go through the rapid and the rocks in the water and not safe and dry in the canoe. While this leaning forward makes sense, it can actually be hard to do. Our instinct is to lean back, to get away from the scary, big, frothy mess of water. But the way to get through this difficult thing, is to get through this difficult thing. The plan, the adventure, the fun, all happens when we lean forward.
In our Bible story today from the Book of Isaiah, the people of God are not canoeing on a river. But they are facing a big, difficult, scary mess. They have been working hard in a strange land. And they’ve gotten whiney. They want to lean away; they want to turn back. But the Prophet Isaiah reminds the people that even in the dry wilderness, God is there. God is doing a new thing for His people. God is making a way for them to go…but God’s people need to trust Him; God’s people need to lean forward.
Sometimes in life, we find ourselves in difficult places. We want to turn around. We want to go back. We think that behind us is safety and comfort. But know this: God is with you always. And God is leading you to new and better things each day. God is making a way for you through the difficult things. God has chosen each of you and God is calling each of you to trust Him and to lean forward.
Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)
for the adventures
in our lives.
to trust You
and to lean forward
that we may go forth
in Your world.
We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.