I remember my father pulling out the Thomas Guide whenever we were going on a trip. This dusty book seemed to be the key to many far-off places and, indeed, it was. But things change over time. I now have a GPS navigator on my cell phone. I even used it once when I was at a conference in Arizona with clergy friends to get us to the Grand Canyon. We did not have a map, but this GPS navigator somehow pinpointed our current location. I just had to type in “Grand Canyon,” and voila! Instant directions to one of the Seven Wonders of the World!
I wish I could tell you that we have a fabulous device with GPS for the Christian path. No church or denomination has a GPS navigator for keying in your current location to get clear instructions on how to arrive safely at your desired location. Instead, we have a magnificent set of stories in our sacred scripture that point in the direction we need to be headed. And, thankfully, we have prayer and the Holy Spirit to help guide us on the journey. But there is no manual or Thomas Guide to give us the exact steps as we trudge along the road. Instead, God asks us to pay close attention to God’s teachings so that we may follow in God’s paths.
We will know that we have finally arrived at the mountain of the Lord when we see swords turned into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks! War no more! This is what it means to walk in the light. This is what it means to live in God’s house.
Loving God, as I try to live and walk in this Christian journey, help me to follow in your paths so that I can know your ways all the days of my life. Amen.
Advent is a season for turning our minds to the coming arrival of the Christ child. Isaiah looks forward to a future day when peace will reign in Jerusalem. All nations will come to hear the wisdom of the Lord. The psalmist rejoices in going up to Jerusalem in his own day. Jerusalem is a center of peace and a place for righteous judgment among the nations. Both readings inform Jewish expectations of a bright future with the arrival of the Messiah. Paul tells the Romans that part of receiving the reality of the Messiah is self-preparation. We should put aside immoral living and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew looks forward to the future return of the Son of God, which will happen at an unexpected time.
Read Isaiah 2:1-5. How do you look to the Bible’s stories, prayer, and the Holy Spirit to help you work toward God’s kingdom?
Read Psalm 122. What does it mean for you to pray for peace?
Read Romans 13:11-14. How do you stay awake to salvation’s nearness?
Read Matthew 24:36-44. Who in your life lives as though they expect the Son of Man? What does it look like to be ready to meet Christ?
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