Saturday, 8 December 2018

Be Prepared

Malachi 3: 1-4; Luke 3: 1-6
In the 57th year of the reign of Elizabeth the second, when Gordon Brown was Prime Minister of Great Britain, and Alex Salmond was First Minister of Scotland and Barak Obama was President of the United States; during the Moderatorial Year of Right Reverend William Hewitt…
Now with a bit of thought, I am sure you wold be able to work out what year I am talking about?
It is 2009…

For the readers of Luke’s narrative, the information he gave them, enabled them to know what the year was, and fixed the point in history.
They would know when it was that the Wildman came out of the wilderness proclaiming the year of the Lord.
Declaring that it was time to get ready; to be prepared.
His message was strong…
His message was uncompromising
His message was prophetic.
Get yourselves ready!
Turn away from sin!
Be baptised and God will forgive you!

The simplicity of John’s message struck a chord with simple folks; it touched the heart of their hunger
They all knew they needed to connect with God
They just had lost touch with HOW to do so

People today are not so different really
The wilderness some of us encounter may not look like that desert, but it exists nevertheless.
It may be loneliness
Or a feeling of isolation
Or being overwhelmed by the world and everything that is happening around us…

The sense of emptiness can touch each of us at any time, and leads to a seeking of … something.
Something intangible; difficult to explain or define…
We are seeking something other in our lives
We are seeking to know how to connect, or reconnect with God out of the wilderness as we respond to the call to be prepared.
We respond to the call to “be prepared” because we can identify with it

This time of year is all about preparations:
Making lists
Tidying up
Planning meals
Buying gifts
Writing cards
Sending invitations
Accepting invitations
And journeying – near or far there are also going to be journeys
And the busy-ness of all that festive cheer is so overwhelming, so all-consuming
That sometimes we forget; we totally forget why we are doing it

What is Christmas all about?
What do we do all of the planning and shopping and writing and journeying for?

Well I have an answer
It is an answer that came to me out of the blue – when, if truth be told, I was feeling uninspired, lost in the wilderness and a little blue myself...
 And suddenly I remembered!!

All of the preparations are not only for me
They are so I can share something
 All of the preparations are not just for the family
They are so I can show something
All of the preparations are not simply for the fun
They are so we can all share something
 And the something?
The something is love

Christmas IS about fun and family and feasting and friends and the fullness of life
 But more than anything else it’s about love

All the preparing
Of house and home
And life and living
And body and spirit
All comes down to love:
In the reign of Queen Elizabeth the Second; when Theresa May was Prime Minister, and the country was waiting with baited breath for answers and resolution: the people of Earlston listened again to the voice crying: in the wilderness prepare for the God of Love
In your wilderness prepare for Love.

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