Scripture Reading: Isaiah 26: 7-9a
you clear a path for the righteous.
In the path of your justice, LORD,
we wait for you;
with all our being,
we long for your name and your acclaim.
At night I long for you with my whole being;
my spirit within me watches for you. (Common English Version)
Have you tried to fill an entire wall with pictures of different frame types, sizes, differing picture sizes in different frames, matted and non-matted? I have. We tried selling our house about this same time last year. When the price of our new house kept going up and the real estate agent wanting us to drop our price, we decided the house was fine. We just needed some upgrading, new paint, new furniture, and maybe even a new kitchen.
I had personally emptied the whole house of all of the “personal” things the agent said were not needed. I had everything boxed up and in the garage, ready to be moved. We were essentially packed up to go except for the furniture and the dishes in the kitchen. When we decided to keep the house, I painted the inside by myself by hand as some sick form of cardio rehab. I then proceeded to paint the outside of the house and start moving the stuff in the garage back into the house. I made an executive decision to completely redesign how my office would be.
I am not sure now if there is any place for any new pictures, as all of the available real estate on the walls either has shelves on them or pictures. When handling the picture-hanging task, I needed one row at the top of all of the walls to be the same level and distance apart. That would be the row of the fire engine pictures of each engine company in Boise, some seventeen pictures. My big level was too clumsy to try do each individual picture, so I downloaded a level on the phone. It gives me the degree differences from zero in any direction and has a graphic looking like the bubble level I had in my other hand. After hanging a couple of pictures, the big metal level would be used to ensure the whole row was level.
After getting all of the pictures hung, I made sure they were as close to zero degrees as possible. The wall now has fire engines, wedding pictures, my seminary diploma, a cross, framed Lincoln and Ford posters, and other memorabilia that signifies to anyone that this room belongs to me. Add to this mini-museum the shelves of books, diecast fire engines and diecast Lincolns I have, and WOW!, there’s a lot of stuff that still shows this room is me and me alone.
Isaiah is telling the children of Israel in a song how trusting in God forever has its rewards. The passage I have quoted from today tells the audience that the journey we take with God is level. In my instance of crossing the river, it would be where God has a level crossing for us to take, where the water has calmed and formed some deep pools, and the rocks we are crossing on are clearly visible and flat (level).
Isaiah takes it a little further than just giving us a level playing field. It involves a trade-off between us and God. It involves a covenant, which by terms means that we promise God something in exchange for God promising us this level pathway. The exchange is simple: love your journey. Do not disregard the bumps, falls, spills, mistakes in judgment, and all of the other things that show that we are human. However, make them a part of the journey that you are on so that you can wait for God’s justice in your life and in the lives of others you touch and reach out to.
When the day is over and night comes, business is ended for the day. The phone stops ringing, e-mails stop flowing, and things quiet down. In the slowing process we can wait for and long for God, watching for something special to occur to keep our journey level.
During this time of Advent, we spend a lot of time waiting and watching for God’s action in our lives to bring forth a new knowledge, a new depth and height of relationship with God and our fellow neighbors, a new star in the sky, a new song in our hearts. It is the time when the dear Savior nears (hmmm, could sing a song with those words). It is the time when Jesus is revealed in our lives and in our journeys. Where there is darkness, Jesus levels the field so that we see light. God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a lamp on our path. Our longing and waiting is to see what the next adventure in the Church year will give to us.
For some reason, this year I am excited about Christmas. I have always loved giving more than getting anything, but this year we, as a family, are also seeing the people in our city who are struggling. We give to charities that will help them. Perhaps being so sick and unable to accomplish everything that I want, God has shed some light and hope in my journey to see others less fortunate even than I am. But God has also given me the ability to do something with an expectancy that perhaps someone else may see God’s light, God’s hope, and God’s Son, Jesus.
The Church year starts with Advent – the season of hope, peace, joy, and love. A season we have to use our spiritual “levels” to make sure the wall of our heart shows who we really are as Christians.
May your Christmas (forget the politically correct, as this is a Christian blog) season be one of renewed vision in your journey. May God open your eyes as well as you heart to be bigger, greater, and more proud to be serving Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Amen.