Fannie Lou Hamer had nothing else to lose. Born the last of twenty children to sharecropper parents, she grew up in dire Mississippi poverty. She began picking cotton on a plantation at age six, and she left school for good at twelve to help her aging parents work the fields. After marrying, she and her husband wanted children, but during surgery for a uterine tumor, a white doctor performed a hysterectomy without her knowledge or consent—a common practice, many said, to suppress Mississippi’s poor Black population. Deciding eventually to register to vote, Mrs. Hamer was challenged instead by her plantation’s owner—a Mister Marlowe—“who told me I would have to go down and withdraw my registration or leave, because they wasn’t ready for that in Mississippi.”*

She left that night, eventually becoming a SNCC field secretary and evolving into an iconic folk hero in the civil rights movement. Enduring beatings in jail and gunfire from nightriders, she never wavered in her goal of helping Mississippi’s poor people—Black and white. She held audiences rapt with her down-home, courageous oratory: “I guess if I'd had any sense, I'd have been a little scared—but what was the point of being scared? The only thing they could do was kill me, and it kinda seemed like they'd been trying to do that a little bit at a time since I could remember.”

Such clarity in one’s calling comes from hearing God. Thus, as Elijah fled his tormentors, hiding in a cave, the Lord himself spoke to him. “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (NLT). The question is asked of all who seek to serve God. What are you doing here? Is this your ministry? May we listen well as God directs and guides.

Clarify my calling, Lord, speaking to my spirit in a clear voice that can only be yours. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 8:26-39

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Lectionary Week
June 13–19, 2022
Scripture Overview

The fact that we trust in God does not guarantee that life will be easy. Believers suffer discouragement as well. Elijah is a powerful prophet of God who faces profound discouragement. He looks around and sees faithlessness and desolation, as does the psalmist wrestling with his own sense of despair. In both cases the person’s spirit is revived—by divine visitation to Elijah and by the psalmist’s self-talk about the truth of God’s faithfulness. The New Testament readings take us in a different direction. Paul speaks of the freedom we have when we are in Christ, heirs to all of God’s promises. The Gospel writer tells of another kind of freedom, the freedom experienced by a man delivered from demon possession.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read 1 Kings 19:1-15a. Recall a time you ran to a silent place. How did God send you back into the world?
Read Psalm 42. The author asks us to imagine the words of this psalm coming from the mouth of Elijah and the Gerasene man. Consider how these words might be yours as well.
Read Galatians 3:23-29. How does your faith in Christ help you to realize that there is freedom in unity rather than to flee in fear?
Read Luke 8:26-39. What true story do you have to tell to the world of what Jesus has done for you?

Respond by posting a prayer.

This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”

Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.