With a blue flash the neighborhood grew instantly dark. Tree limbs cracked beneath the heaviness of clinging ice. Yellow candle light gave way to the bright white light of our propane camping lantern. The blue natural gas flames danced over red-hot ceramic logs lifting the temperature to levels Granny Due enjoyed. Our media soaked reality collided with an unexpected Sabbath. Without lights we thought of our neighbors sitting in the dark and soon traveled to light a widow’s gas logs. Back home we abandoned our corners and gathered around light and heat. Fortunate to be warm, we enjoyed each other more than our board game. And then, just as suddenly as the light vanished, the lights returned as Utility workers braved the ice and high voltage to restore power. Our youngest gleefully leapt to his feet racing toward the x-box declaring “back to the raid”. We laughed and returned to separate corners. I picked up the guitar, Connie her book, Caleb a controller, Lewis his tablet and granny her covers. Our unexpected Sabbath ended. Life can change very quickly.
“For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man come” In both Mathew 24 and Luke 17, Jesus calls us prepare for the unexpected. Jesus warns “those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life (for the Gospel) will keep it.” Life can change like a blue lighting flash. Only the love of God holds our present and secures our future. Only the patient practice of laying aside sinful habits and taking up spiritual disciplines anchors us in God’s unchanging love. Yes, we are saved by grace through faith, but spiritual strength emerges through persistent Christ-like living. May we be ready for life’s ever-changing changes by walking as Jesus walked, speaking as Jesus spoke, praying as Jesus prayed, giving as Jesus gave, worshipping and Jesus worshipped, welcoming as Jesus welcomed, forgiving as Jesus forgave, and loving as Jesus loved.
As we enter these 40 days of spiritual preparation, let us remember our lives can change with lightning speed. Only Faith, Hope and Love remain. Let us walk as Jesus walked, taking up our cross and walking through Calvary to Easter. Will we commit to four patterns over the next forty days?
- Will we make weekly worship our priority wherever we are?
- Will we foster Sabbath time each day with prayer, reflection and Scripture?
- Will we take up a specific area of Christian mission, ministry or service?
- Will we lay aside some habit that hinders our following Jesus?
Join in the journey over the next 40 days. Let us prepare for Gethsemane, Calvary, and Easter. Let us prepare, for we know that life will change, challenge, and confront. May we be grounded in the practices and patterns of Jesus!