This Thanksgiving my family and I went off the technology grid, like we do every year, but this trip was a little different for many reasons, most of which I will keep locked in my heart. However, I will share, and I want to share that there is a reflective discontentment stirring inside of me. This trip, by design, was about board games and quite conversations, walks to the lake with fishing poles and bike rides around camp. It was about campfire nights and starry skies, it was about walking the dogs and watching birds. It was about the Lord’s Supper and family scripture time. This trip was wonderful.
As we pulled out of camp for the drive home my first blog stirred in my heart again… or rather the foreknowledge of Jesus, of the Messiah, the Savior of the world. An entire people waited with anticipation for the One that was foretold from the beginning, the One who would come again.
“Comfort, comfort My people,” says your God. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and announce to her that her time forced labor is over, her iniquity has been pardoned and she has received the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.”
A voice of one crying out: Prepare the way of the LORD in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert. Every valley will be lifted up, and every mountain and hill will be leveled; the uneven ground will become smooth and the rough places, a plain. And the glory of the LORD will appear, and all humanity together will see it, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” - Isaiah 40:1-5
It goes on to foretell of a great king which will come later, the same wording that John the Baptist uses in Matthew and then later in the same text it points to The One who will come again; Jesus would alleviate sorrow, restore hope and bring cheer. Jesus is compassion, hope and grace.
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: prepare the way for the Lord: make His paths straight!”
– Matthew 3:1-3
But one day, all will see…
“And the glory of the LORD will appear, and all humanity together will see it, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” - Isaiah 40:5
“For it is written: As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue will give praise to God.” – Romans 14:11
As we traveled through the hills and valleys, making our way home, I asked my husband, “Do you suppose we are missing out on literal instructions? It’s no secret that the North American Church is asleep but even in our service, our day to day work for the church for the sake of “ministry” - I had to ask him aloud, “Are we missing the literal call?” The disciples literally put their lives aside to follow Jesus, they walked where He walked, they traveled where He traveled. They sat and learned from Him. They set aside everything to know Him.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. Or whoever wants to save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it. – Matthew 16:24-25
Are we missing out? The testimony of our lives should not be what we have rather it should reflect whom we serve. We all serve something or someone… The government as we look to “leaders” to provide relief programs or the banks as we mortgage and borrow ourselves into the endless cycle of longer hours at the office and ladder climbing.
I guess the question I should be asking is how much intentional living am I participating in with anticipation?
What if the sleeping Church woke up? What if every person in the body of the Church lived nacham searching for those to alleviate sorrow, restore hope and bring cheer? What if we didn’t wait for a natural disaster to be the Church in our communities and instead looked-for ways, today, to help a neighbor in need?
What would our world look like if we participated as true disciples?
"By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." - John 13:35