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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Scripture Reading: Malachi 3:1–4
See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?

For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years. (NRSV)

Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament. We know what is coming, and this passage is clear: a messenger is coming to prepare things before the coming of the Lord we seek. Then the passage tells us how ill prepared we are but gives us hope we can be transformed and eventually please the Lord. However, it sounds like a very rough and long transformation. What a message!

Messengers—they bring news we want to hear and also news we do not want to hear and not always when we want to hear it. Usually a message arrives, and that is all, but sometimes there is a twist that impacts us so deeply our stride is broken and our life changes, perhaps for a moment but maybe forever. We hear messages in different ways too: a change in job, health, or relationships; the death of a family member or friend; a birth, a marriage. These can all bring joy, sadness, excitement, regret, fear, indifference, and many other feelings.

During Lent, I try reading a Bible passage each morning before checking email. It grounds the busyness of my day, having a Bible passage running through my head first, and makes me more aware of messages from God. Since spring has (somewhat) appeared in Chicago, birds sing in the morning; as I read, I enjoy their songs, like one of God’s messengers. While reading I reflect on my life, its changes, lessons learned, the future, faith, and God. For how many of us do we only set aside time during Lent to reflect so deeply? Why not every morning? 

Dear Lord, thank you for this time of Lent when I am reminded to reflect. Help prepare me for your message, not just during Lent but every single day in order to serve you better. Amen.    

Written by Carole Bekken, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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