“Thy Kingdom Come-” Is that Really what We Want?
SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Prayer of the day: Stir up our hearts, Lord God, to prepare the way of your only Son. By his coming give to all the people of the world knowledge of your salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
“But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?” Malachi 3:2
“Be careful what you wish for.” That was one of my Mom’s favorite sayings. It has often proven itself in my own experience. Christmas gifts for which I longed as a child frequently lost their charm before the dawn of the new year, leaving me to wish that I had coveted something else. Though the promotion I worked so hard to get brought a higher salary and a greater degree of financial flexibility, it also burdened me with responsibilities that brought stress and anxiety, commitments that took me away from my family and round the clock duties that robbed me of what little time I had for leisure activity. Wishes always come with an invisible price tag. In the words of Galinda in the musical, Wicked:
“I couldn’t be happier, no I couldn’t be happier,
Though it is, I admit, the tiniest bit, unlike I anticipated.
‘Cause getting your dreams, strange as it seems
Is a little bit complicated.
There’s a kind of a sort of cost,
There’s a couple of things you’ve lost.
There are bridges you crossed
You didn’t know that you crossed till you crossed them.”
Sometimes a wish come true ends in tragedy. How many stories have we not heard of lottery winners discovering that their “ticket to a dream” turned out to be a nightmare? Garth Brooks got it right: “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”
In this week’s lesson from the Hebrew Scriptures the prophet Malachi sounds a cautionary note against his peoples’ longing for the day of the Lord. Read more