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Friday, June 13, 2014

Scripture Reading: Zephaniah 1:7a, 12–14
Be silent before the Lord God!
     For the day of the Lord is at hand.

At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps,
     and I will punish the people
who rest complacently on their dregs,
     those who say in their hearts,
“The Lord will not do good,
     nor will he do harm.”
Their wealth shall be plundered,
     and their houses laid waste.
Though they build houses,
     they shall not inhabit them;
though they plant vineyards,
     they shall not drink wine from them.

The great day of the Lord is near,
     near and hastening fast;
the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter,
     the warrior cries aloud there. (NRSV)

“The Lord will not do good, nor will he do harm.” This is the sentiment deep in the hearts of those who live complacent lives. They live as though God, whether he exists or not, does not matter, since God does neither good nor harm. Ironically, they are the people for whom the Lord will search, with lamps, so as not to miss a single person that he intends to punish. Sooner than they think, they will be struck in every way that matters to them, and they will come to know that complacency has consequences.

What a frightening image! To shake us from any delusions we have about whether God really matters, about whether God really has power and passion, the prophet Zephaniah says over and again, “The great day of the Lord is near.” Zephaniah invokes the image of Judgment Day, the ultimate religious symbol of consequences.

The consciousness of God with which we live each day has profound consequences. What we say deep in our hearts about God matters. In place of complacency, there can be faith— trust in the Lord’s words: “For surely I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for harm.”

God, remove all complacency from my heart. Replace it instead with trust—a trust in your power, in your passion, in your care for me. Remind me that I matter to you, and let nothing matter more to me than you. Amen.

Written by Joyce Shin, Associate Pastor for Congregational Life

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