“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. “
DEVOTION BY Shanon Hartford
“Riiiiiiise aaannnnnnd shiiiii-iiiine!” Mom seemed to relish the opportunity to irritate me, her teenaged daughter, her only child, even as I struggled to sleep, pillow over my head, resentful at the faux-friendly wake-up song. I believed that her intention was to irritate. To provoke me. To prod me into action. I was annoyed: mission accomplished, Mom.
Contrast this with: My bedroom, seven years earlier, cloaked in darkness. Outside, morning sunlight just beginning to glow. Shuffle, creak. Grown-up bare feet pad softly across the hardwood floor of my room. A silhouette leans down. Soothing words, quiet murmurings. My strong father scooping blankets and his sleeping girl up into his arms. A feeling of butterflies and then weightlessness. His kind face, dimly lit, awash in cool gray light as he carries me down the hallway and into the kitchen for our standing date: breakfast.
He would set me on a stool at the counter, my blankets wrapped around me. He cooked from the other side of the counter, and we sat face to face to share a simple meal; oatmeal, eggs, maybe french toast to be fancy. Just the two of us.
Isaiah’s message is one of joy and anticipation; it’s a turning-point for all who hear and respond with obedience.
It’s through prayerful meditation that I often recognize the memories and experiences that will anchor Scripture to my heart. What am I getting right? Where am I lacking clarity? What is God saying to me in this verse today?
When I first started writing this, the memory of breakfasts with my dad was a buried treasure. Reading Isaiah 60, I could only hear the sound of frustration in my mother’s voice and it troubled me. I was adrift as a teenager, and my mother’s best (back then) was to rattle and cajole. I have sympathy for her, especially now that I am a parent. And, amidst the laughter and love, my dad and I would go through our fair share of pain and disappointment. The good and the bad would all follow me into adulthood and help make me who I am.
How do you hear Isaiah’s call to rise and shine?
What does your response look like?
When we are groping around in the dark, or asleep at the wheel, God may give us a much needed poke. He wants to be light for our path. Sometimes it takes pain, the great wake-up call, to see just how in need of His light we are. It’s got to be this way. After all, it is God who created our innate and good sense to run towards the light and flee from the shadows.
I’ve been a member of Bel Air Church for nearly ten years, involved in a number of life groups, and recently became a Deacon.
MY MEAL MEMORY
We began attending Family Camp five years ago. If you’ve been, you probably already know how Mission Springs is one of those places where God’s light shines in abundance. But there is probably no underestimating the impact of a week’s worth of catered meals. Every meal, in advance is planned, shopped for, cooked and then cleaned-up afterwards for you and your family. It is literally all included and provided. Plus dessert is already on the table when you sit down! And the best part? Getting beyond the casual “hi - bye” on the church patio, and making genuine connections. This is a table made for sharing stories, pie, and laughter. It’s a table of invitation, to make your circle a little bigger. It’s a community at its best when gathered at God’s table.
When I come to the table with an obedient heart, extraordinary things happen.