S (Scripture): Isaiah 40
A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
O (Observation): God’s people, stick in the midst of foreign occupation and devastating circumstances, are reassured that God will see them through such a time as this.
God reminds the people of Israel that work is still to be done. A path is desired by God. And God will see to it that all obstructions are cleared away. God will make God’s self known to the world.
And God’s glory will be revealed.
A (Application): If you have not heard by now, on September 1, I will begin serving as Assistant to the Bishop for the Southeastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. That means my family and I will be moving to the Atlanta area (near Stone Mountain, GA), and away from Murfreesboro, TN, which has been our home for the past 7 &1/2 years.
This is a bittersweet time for us, as we have become deeply embedded in this community. We have see growth. We have seen challenge. God’s presence is obscured by the various ways we have interpreted what it means to be Christian in this part of the world. Some think it means being obedient to “The Bible” or to what some preacher says one must do. Being a Christian here can mean admonishing the neighbor in love.
These calls to obedience alone are mountains and valleys that obscure the nature of God. For to see Christianity merely as obedience is to go shallow. Or, as Richard Rohr puts it: “Mere obedience is far too often a detour around actual love. Obedience is usually about cleaning up, Love is about waking up.”
So, how do we clear the path? Love. In acts of love. In doing the most loving thing you can do in any moment, in any circumstance.
P (Prayer): Lord, help us to prepare the way for you by sharing love with those we encounter. Amen.