Day Four: Stand Tall

Psalm 79
Micah 5:1-5a
Luke 21:34-38

The story of Israel is a pedestrian one – in quite a literal sense!

From Abraham, who left his family and inheritance behind him in obedience to God’s command, to Moses who led a nation of slaves through the wilderness towards a land of milk and honey, to the regular pilgrimages to the temple in Jerusalem that their faith required, the people of Israel rigorously put one foot in front of the other in order to follow where God led.

The exile into Babylon – which seemed like the end to so many – was yet another step in the journey; just as the return and rebuilding would be.

As God’s people lamented their sins and pleaded for mercy … “may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need” (Psalm 79:8b, NIV) … a promise was delivered of a Saviour, a ruler who would “stand tall in his shepherd-rule by God’s strength, centred in the majesty of God-Revealed. And the people will have a good and safe home, for the whole world will hold him in respect—Peacemaker of the world!”
(Micah 5:4-5, The Message).

This is the promised Messiah for whom many Jews are still watching and waiting, hoping and praying. Yet, for many of us who call ourselves Christ-followers and regularly proclaim, “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again,” the urgent plea for the coming of his kingdom of shalom has too frequently been replaced by polite prayers for God to please do something for someone in a place we can’t even point to on a map ….

The season of Advent provides us with the opportunity to consider how our faith, our commitment to follow, our pursuit of righteousness and mercy  has been dulled down by parties and drinking and shopping, lulled by the drudgery of daily routines, overridden by road rage and envy and a grand sense of entitlement, or buried beneath #hashtags and photoshopped faces.

As Luke warned his listeners to stay on their guard, praying constantly for wisdom and strength that they might end up on their feet before the Son of Man, so do the days leading up to Christmas call us from our complacency to stand tall and follow our Shepherd-ruler faithfully, that his peace may become a present reality in today’s world rather than the pleasant “one-day” dream that we ask for by rote.

If you are anything like me, you may well be wondering where to begin. One of the greatest reasons for our apathy and inactivity is often the sheer size of the problem ….

world_problems.jpg

                                                                                                                . < me

Yet, as Micah prophesies of the coming Messiah, he reveals a vital truth to hold onto: the salvation of the world comes from small things.

Just as the Messiah would be born to the tribe of Judah, the runt of the litter, in the tiny town of Bethlehem, so too can the most extraordinary, unexpected journeys begin with a small step of faith.

Today, put aside your Bible and/or journal in favour of standing up and taking a practical step towards making the kingdom a present reality. For example,  

Walk around your neighbourhood. Smile at people you pass and pray for them as your footsteps take you further. Or put a doggy watering station or a bench out on your pavement to encourage others to pause for a while.

Pin up a map, pick a place, learn all you can about what life is like for the people there and pray for them. Support an organisation offering help or care there. Go on a pilgrimage if you are able.

***

World problem’s image sourced at http://www.diplomacypakistan.com/articles/the-solution-to-the-worlds-problems-lies-not-in-new-economic-policies-or-military-alliances-but-in-love/

  One thought on “Day Four: Stand Tall

  1. Ruth Kerr
    December 6, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    Thanks Yvonne. I’m enjoying your thought-provoking advent messages.

    • December 6, 2017 at 5:25 pm

      Thank you so much Ruth. I’m finding it a deeply meaningful and challenging journey and am just so grateful to be able to share it with others. Blessings to you in your time of reflection.

  2. Gemina
    December 6, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Hi Yvonne , hope you are well and family too. This message has stirred my thoughts and my faith. Is my faith active or not , or is it active when it’s convenient? Wow! Thanks again for such beautiful and thought provoking messages. much love and take care.

    • December 6, 2017 at 5:32 pm

      Thank you for sharing Gemina. One of the reasons why I love the season of Advent and its thought-provoking, discomfort-stirring passages before Christmas is that it gives me the chance to reflect honestly over the year that has passed and to anticipate what lies ahead. It’s a time for confession and course-correction and intentionally listening to the longing of my heart’s and God’s so that I may live more and more authentically. And I’m so grateful that even the smallest change can yield amazing and surprising results. May the Spirit continue to inspire and provoke you as you journey. Much love to you … and all my precious sisters in faith.

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