16 December 2020 – Reflection

Go there Running

Malachi 3:16-4:6

But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. “

I once heard a pastor that many people know as JP describe the Gospel in this way. In Biblical times, war was a common occurrence with special traditions that followed. After a battle was won, the winning army would send one person ahead of the cavalry to their home. The purpose of this soldier was to declare victory to the townspeople and have them begin to prepare for the celebration. The army should arrive home with the celebration ready to commence. The soldier’s sole purpose was to let the townspeople know of the “good news” that was to come. The return of the victorious army.
Malachi’s approach with this letter is similar. The people have begun to love civil unrest and blame God for not fulfilling God’s promises. The Jewish people are deciding to turn their backs on God because God has (in their eyes) not kept the promises of the former prophets. Now, Malachi begins to calm them and fix their eyes on the faithfulness of God. Malachi is using this letter as a means to prepare them for the coming of the LORD. Throughout the text, mainly in our specific verses, Malachi continues to remind them to fear the LORD and anticipate the great day of return.
Can you see where we are going with this? Malachi is the soldier (symbolically of course) that is sent to the townspeople with the “good news”. The good news is that the LORD is coming back. We, as Christians, do not have to sit in the hardships of life and think “Where is God in all of this?”. We know exactly where God is. God is with us. We know there is more to life than this earth. 1 Peter describes us as “exiles in a foreign land” because our home is not of this Earth – not its kingdoms, corporations, or governments. Our home is to be in the presence of God’s Spirit within the kingdom of God.
The child that reset the entire calendar and dating system was born in a manger. A manger heavenly ordained as the birthplace of God incarnate. The inn had no area where a birth could take place, and the manger was the only semi-private space available for this event. The household of donkeys, horses, sheep, and other animals was now the home of the King of Kings. The Son of God had to come save creation before He could one day return to redeem it. Now, I take the place of the soldier for a moment.
Jesus Christ, fully God and fully human, lived a life of a Jewish rabbi. He followed and interpreted Torah. He practiced a life of faith. He believed in God’s faithfulness and lived a life of surrender to that vision. He taught and practiced the kingdom of God (as the movement of God’s Spirit) as present and available here and now.  He lived a righteous life under Torah, and offered us a life of resurrection. We patiently await the return of Jesus Christ to redeem all of the Earth! All of Creation.
Your turn to be the soldier.
 Take that “good news” and go to the townspeople running.
A book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possessions, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him.”