Sunday, December 9, 2018
2nd Sunday of Advent
The Revised Common Lectionary passages for the Lord’s Day are:
First Reading: Malachi 3:1-4
Psalm: Canticle Luke 1:68-79
Second Reading: Philippians 1:3-11
Gospel Reading: Luke 3:1-6
The liturgical color for the day is: Purple or Blue
The little book of Malachi—it is the last of the “minor” prophets. It is different from the rest. Nothing is known of Malachi as a historical figure. Indeed, it really is more of a title than it is a personal name. Literally translated it mean, “My messenger.”
Stylistically this book does not fit neatly in the First Testament nor in the New Testament. It is, if you will, between the times. It is between the movements.
Malachi is a book that is a forerunner of messenger John who would come out of the wilderness. Rooted in a firm history and first cousin of the Manger Royal King of Kings, it was John who cried out with the words of Isaiah: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’” (Luke 3:4-6, Isaiah 40:3-5)
John and his message, “Prepare the way.” We know all about preparations. ‘Tis the season…
We have prepared so much that we are ready for nothing. It is an “okay that is done and so what is next” existence that we are living. Into this tired existence of ours, with its pace which demands a check off list, we hear that wide-eyed wild messenger John the Baptizer. He says to “Prepare the way of the Lord.” And he says to prepare ourselves for the days when, “All flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
We are not sure when that day will come, if ever. We are hardly convinced that such is the place where we will end up or where we will land. We know the 25th is coming, but the place and time when “All flesh shall see the salvation of God”—we dare to wonder how that could ever be in this world of constant violence where still more injustices rage for no reason whatsoever.
How long, oh Lord, how long? What kind of refiner’s fire is necessary to get there, where is the fullers’ soap that washes away the impurities and burns off the dross with the power of pure lye?
Malachi—it is not so much a proper name as it is a title. “My messenger.”
It is more of a question: “Will you be a Malachi?” Will you be a “My messenger?” Will we be a Malachi—will we be the messenger for this age, this world, this neighbor, this little one…
When we are that messenger—we become the peace we long to know. When we are that messenger—we bear this starlight flicker. Will you be a Malachi; will you be “my messenger?”