Proclaiming the Coming Kingdom
Matt. 3:1 ¶ In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming,
Matt. 3:2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
John was sent by God to call the people back to his kingdom. He was their wake-up call! For far too long they had been doing their own thing and not paying attention to the call to be God's holy people. Now God was going to step into human flesh and create a pathway for the salvation for all humankind. John's purpose was tell people to "Wake Up -- Pay Attention!" And in the midst of all he was doing, Jesus showed up and the already of the new kingdom was begun.
What will it take to get our attention regarding the serious nature of our relationship with God? Yesterday afternoon two bombs went off in Boston. In an instant peoples' lives were altered and the freedom to which the United States has been accustomed may be changed forever. There remains a very real presence of evil in this world and there are those who believe that acts of violence will bring about their desired result. This act of violence should remind us of our very desperate need for God.
Too often we try to pretend that evil simply doesn't exist or rule in our world and that we can go along and live our lives with the thought that things will continuously improve. Sadly, without God this will not happen. What will happen will be more acts of violence because humans do have an innate bent toward sinning and we need God today in our lives, our communities, our nations and the world more than ever before. This is not the time to turn our backs on him and think we can go this alone.
At the same time this is when God's people should spring to action. We should be a people of prayer who are lifting up all of those who have been injured and those who have lost loved ones in this terrible disaster. We should be in prayer for a community which has been devastated by these actions. We should be in prayer for those first responders who ran in to help others without regard to their own safety. We should be in prayer for those medical workers who tirelessly treated the wounds of those injured. And we should pray for our leaders who have to respond to this crisis -- that they will have the wisdom to bring God's response.
Beyond prayer, we must be the hands and feet of Jesus. What can we do to represent Christ in the midst of this sorrow? There are those today who will be the presence of Jesus in hospital rooms and homes across the Boston area. Christ followers are needed to live out his gracious acts in the world.
These are difficult days and we are in desperate need of our God. In the midst of this tragedy may we continue to reach out to the one in whose kingdom we do trust. He has come, his kingdom is near, and we may participate with him in that kingdom today. "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." This is our only true hope.
Lord, please be with the people of Boston today -- those physically injured and those emotionally injured. Please, help our elders and give them your wisdom in reacting to all that has been done. Amen.