Week 5: Love Abundantly

Scripture Readings:

1 Kings 17:8-16 - Elijah and the Widow’s Oil that Does Not Run Out
John 12:1-11 - Mary of Bethany Anoints Jesus’ Feet

This week our sacred texts reveal sacrificial, unconditional love on full display. Too often in life we are scared of our circumstance or snared by the challenges of the day. This week we name our truth as we remember Christ’s promise of abundant life – a life that is beyond all our imagining, a life of discipleship, rich in the fullness of God. With heart, mind and soul we listen for that still, small voice and accept the blessings of God’s extravagant love.   

Your Extravagant Love

Good and Gracious God,

Your extravagant love is poured over my life as a balm, 
as a salve to heal my brokenness and restore my joy.
Even as death encircled me and my very breath was being stripped away, 
your love saved me.

Your extravagant love provided abundance in my deepest hour of need.
As I laid awake and heavy burdened by the weight and worry of
     Hunger without sufficient food
     Diagnosis but no means for care
     Impending storms and insufficient shelter 
your love restored me.

Your extravagant love performed miracles when 
mountains seemed too high and valleys appeared too low.
As circumstances became challenges and challenges became crises 
you took notice of my despair and spoke calm over my life, 
your love blessed me.

Your extravagant love calls me to a life of extravagant praise 
     my tongue extols your greatness 
     my knees bend in adoration 
     my feet dance in gratitude 
     my whole being praises your holy name!

Your extravagant love is my all and all.

– by LaTrelle Miller Easterling, January 12, 2013

Moment of Reflection

The widow named her burdens – "only a handful of flour in a jar and a bit of oil in a bottle … We’ll eat the last of the food and then die." Name your burdens and also where you see signs of God’s abundant love.

If you are doing this study in a small group, take turns sharing your responses. After each person speaks, the group will respond:
“Don’t be afraid! Listen for God’s messengers of abundant love."

After you have finished sharing, discuss:

  • How does the extravagant love of God unexpectedly show up in your life and the lives of those you love?
  • How can your church more intentionally celebrate the ways God’s extravagant love works miracles: overcoming challenges, healing brokenness and bringing hope to despair? 
Closing Hymn:

“Great is Thy Faithfulness,” UMH #140