who walks in the ways of God.
(adapted from Psalm 128:1)
Joel reminds the people--those, then, and us, now, as well, that God has already done great things for us. And, God will continue to do great things. He uses as an examples the return of rain to the land and, as a consequence, the abundance of food. We can witness the presence of God in our life by paying attention to the gifts that come from God.
Joel is writing to a people that have suffered ruin--invasion and famine, "Lament and repent. Return to the Lord. Sound the alarm. The day of the Lord is coming, a day of darkness and gloom." Yet, even in the face of our deserved judgment, the Lord continues to beckon, "Return to me."
As Christians traveling through Advent, let us heed Joel's reminder: Rend your hearts and not your clothing. What do we need to give up (or to take up) that is our way of fasting, weeping, and mourning?
In 2:13, we see the familiar doxology of God's mercy (Exodus 34:5-7).
Again, Joel says, "Sound the alarm," and adds:
Sanctify a fast.In verse 17, he reminds us that our lives demonstrate what we really believe about God. There's an old cliche' that your life is a sermon that you are preaching everyday. What if it is true?
Call a solemn assembly.
Gather the whole congregation including the old people and the very young.
We are reading from this letter that was written to congregations that preceded us--written to them at a time of stress and turmoil, a time when they needed to be reminded that Christ is King.
Verses 5 and 6 list some of the elements of Christian faith:
Christ is the faithful witness.Not only that but also, Christ made us to be a kingdom. Kingdom. That might sound pretty empowering. Let us pause to remember what kind of kingdom is meant. We are to serve God and Father to whom glory and dominion belong.
Christ is the ruler of the kings of the earth.
Christ loves us.
Christ freed us from our sins by his blood.
Caesar may seem to be in charge of our lives, but Caesar doesn't last long. The Lord God, on the other hand, is the Alpha and Omega--the already and the one to come. The Lord God is the one who is and will be the Almighty One in our lives.
Source of happiness.
If a ruler listens to falsehood,
all his officials will be wicked.
The poor and the oppressor have this in common:
the Lord gives light to the eyes of both,
If a king judges the poor with equity,
his throne will be established forever.
Prayer for Today: O Lord, open us to your call. Guide us back from errants paths. Bring us again into your embrace. Amen.