I Am Listening

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Second Sunday of Advent

 

Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

 

Go up on a high mountain,

messenger of Zion.  

Shout as loud as you can,

messenger of Jerusalem! 

Shout fearlessly,

say to the towns of Judah,

‘Here is your God.’ NJB

Do you hear the message?  The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Repent!

Repent.  To regret, to apologize, to atone, to expiate.  Can I simply say, “Sorry, God”?  Can I write a fat check to church or sponsor a child in Sudan?

Yes, I have regrets.  I wish I had not done that.  I wish I had done the other.  Have I heard the message?

Can I promise never to do it again?

God gave Isaiah the message about John centuries before John himself immersed sinners in the Jordan River.  John spoke the message of God knowing that the Messiah would soon replace him.  John gave up his life to deliver the message of God.

What does that say about repentance?

We need to respond, to do something, but what?  The answer is In view of the fact that all these things are to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be? Surely men of good and holy character, who live expecting and earnestly longing for the coming of the day of GodPhillips

When Karl Barth preached on 2 Peter 3:12a in 1917, he read from his German Bible.  Translated into English, it reads Wait for and hasten to the coming of the day of God!  Wait and hasten.  How do we do that?

I am an individual.  I am happy or grumpy, strong or weak, sick or healthy, vocal or silent, but I am me and God wants me to be me.  He does not want me to be Jesus, or John or Peter, or James, or Timothy.  Me.  As Barth put it, God says “Yes” to the laughter of amusing people and to the crying of those who are in sorrow…. But when we hear this “Yes” and accept it, and then push God aside, that is when it turns to evil…. We do not want to hear and understand that we may go our ways with God, that God wants to be with us as we go our ways…. We do not accept it from God; instead, we want to seize it for ourselves.  I want to repent, but I want to do it my way.

Be still and listen.  Allow God to stand beside you and lead you.  Do it God’s way.  Do not decide you know the way.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

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