Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hope for justice

Below is the Advent devotion I submitted for our seminary newsletter and website (which is found here)...


Advent Sunday #2
“Hope for Justice”
Malachil 3:1-4

I grew up cheering for the Dallas Cowboys in the Tom Landry era (my, were things different then). His definition of coaching was: “making men do what they don’t want to do, so they can become what they want to be.” Things like practice, and discipline, and teamwork led to not only good football teams, but also the development of good people.

I thought of this as I read through Malachi for this second week of Advent. Malachi was dealing with some priests who had grown a bit weary in their roles of instructing people in the ways of justice. So the prophet informs them that God will send a messenger to ‘clean things up’ so-to-speak. He likened this messenger to a “refiner’s fire” or a “launderer’s soap” (NIV).

So…. how is your life as we approach Christmas? Is everything in order? Or are you maybe struggling a bit or stuck in a rut of some kind? Are you, perhaps, in need of a little “cleaning up”?

Jesus came into the world to set things right, and to produce disciples to carry this on. As we journey through this season of Advent, we would be wise to remember the restorative aspects of justice. How Jesus can set things right in our lives, and how we can share in his work on behalf of others. I believe this is how most of us want to be.

So let me encourage you to participate in some missional practices during this season. Maybe shovel the neighbor’s sidewalk, or invite them over for supper, or take someone shopping who otherwise isn’t able to go. As far as spiritual disciplines: What better time to focus your prayer life, or your Bible reading, or perhaps even the idea of simplicity. Also, many people feel alone during the holidays – maybe even you. Resist the urge to isolate yourself and commit to your church or some other kind of fellowship group. We should all be aware of our ‘teammates’ who may be walking this path as well.

Practice, discipline, and teamwork don’t always come easy. Sometimes we need to force ourselves to step out in faith – in order to be the kind of people we want to be. It never hurts to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” either (Heb. 10). So let’s go, team!!