Their books are short. They have been labeled the “minor prophets.” And their messages are anything but minor. The prophets are sent to speak God’s Word, to be “loudspeakers” for God—not just in biblical times, but now!—confronting our sin and bringing us to repentance, in order to restore a right relationship with God. Luther doesn’t mince words about the importance of the prophets: “We Christians ought not to be such shameful, satiated, ungrateful know-it-alls, but rather read and use the prophets with earnestness and profit.” OK, then. Let’s get to it!
This Advent season is going to look VERY different than it ever has in our lifetime. It’s going to be unusual. But here’s the thing, God’s love is steadfast. God’s work is ever happening. God is still God and is at work.
Each advent we look out the windows and say, “Come Lord Jesus!” Well, guess what… Jesus has come, is here and will come again. The story of God changing the world isn’t worlds of time away. It’s here and it’s now. The prophets call us to look for the Day of the Lord. What if it’s happening already, right now, in your life?
God is changing the world as we know it, right now. God is gracious to all and saves everyone through Jesus. So, what, during this season of Advent do WE get to do about it?
Where has the Kingdom HAPPENED?
Where WILL the Kingdom HAPPEN?
What’s it got to do with ME?
November 29: Haggai - LOOK AROUND MORE
Haggai 2:4-9; Matthew 7: 24-29
Haggai calls the people to come together and SEE what comforts they have now. It’s a time of seeing blessing and giving Thanksgiving for all God has done. Even if it isn’t perfect, it’s a gift. But why has God given us these gifts? Just for us? What about a place to worship for them? Is it for God? No! God doesn’t need a house built. God builds houses: in us, for others. How is God at work in you and in the community you have around you? God brought them, and us, together for SO MUCH MORE.
December 6: Zechariah - COME TOGETHER MORE
Zechariah 8: 3-8; John 15: 9-17 OR John 17:20-26
A month out from a pretty crazy presidential election, has the craziness subsided? Are we more divided? Have we yet come together? What unites us? Maybe a better question is WHO unites us. Zechariah is speaking to two groups: 1) those who were stolen away in exile and 2) those who weren’t important enough to even attack (yeah, imagine being one of those folks!) But NOW they are back together. Zechariah is calling these people together for a purpose. Yes, they are different, but one doesn’t invalidate the other. There is a great diversity in our neighborhoods, our country and our world. How is God calling us to find our similarities over our differences? God calls us to come together.
December 13: Joel - HOPE MORE
Joel 2:25-32; Proverbs 13:22-23; John 1:6-8, 19-28 (lectionary)
There are those days aren’t there? Where you just aren’t feeling much good news? Yep, we’ve all been there. All of us. All of God’s people have felt it at one time or another. Joel talks about beasts and plagues and grasshoppers consuming everything. But it’s not about predicting the future; it’s about changing the behavior of the people. These were a people who needed to hear, and see, that the world around them isn’t going to be consumed before they get a share.
And church, this is why we do what we do.
December 20: Malachi - GOD IS MORE
Malachi 3:1; Matthew 1:18-25 OR Luke 1:26-38 (lectionary)
If you are or have ever been married, you know…marriage is hard. Disney sells us that all relationships are happily ever after. But, we all know that that isn’t actually true. Relationships are HARD. All of them. They have ups and downs. They go through seasons. The people of God in Malachi are feeling that bigtime, and truthfully, so is God. God has seen this relationship with God’s people ebb and flow. The people have seen God at work but walked away again and again. They have fallen short, again and again. But there’s something MORE.
It’s the DAY of the LORD!
There will be one day when God takes all the dissension and contrition out of this and ALL relationships. There will be a Day that everything changes – a day where the Kingdom of God rules forever. It will be an endless season of the light of Christ. GOD doesn’t run out of love or energy for US. That is such good news. One day, soon, that will be our forever, hope-filled reality!