Life Notes—November 22, 2012
“Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord! Why do you want the day of the Lord? It is darkness, not light; as if someone fled from a lion and was met by a bear; or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall, and was bitten by a snake.” Amos 5:18-19
One of my brothers and I used to enjoy teasing the youngest son of one of our cousins. Frankie would display false bravado about his basketball skills until the two of us would take him on—two adult men against a child. As soon as he turned his attention to the brother with the ball it would go to the other brother. He simply did not have enough hands and feet to cover the various ways we could attack his porous defense. “Who’s the star basketball player now?” we would taunt. You are probably thinking, “That’s not fair!” And by human standards, you would be right. As Frankie grew taller and stronger he continued to challenge us to a little “two on one,” but as my brother and I aged, we also grew wiser and avoided a rematch that could ruin our unbeaten record.
Why would Frankie continue to desire a game where the odds were stacked so heavily against him? The cheery (NOT!) little passage above from the prophet Amos asks the question why we would desire the day of the Lord. According to Amos, the odds are stacked heavily against us. That day will bring darkness, not light. He describes a nightmarish scenario where we flee from a lion only to run into a bear. Or, in our fleeing, stop to rest against a wall where we are bitten by a snake. We simply cannot defend against all the threats the day of the Lord will bring. And why is that? I suspect it has to do with our sin. Facing the Lord, who is without sin, will reveal the pervasiveness of our failings and we will be left defenseless—like the young Frankie trying to defend against two grown men. We cannot simply work our way out of the deep hole of our sin, at least not alone. Even so, like Frankie, we desire the encounter in spite of the odds.
Fortunately for us, the Perfect Sinless One came to earth to walk with us and to cover our sin so we need not be fearful of encountering the Lord. God’s unfailing love for us, manifested in Jesus Christ, bore the weight of our sin, was crucified on the cross and was buried in the tomb. We no longer need to carry that weight because it has been removed from us in the sight of God. Next week we journey into Advent, when we prepare to receive Christ into our lives once again. Through Christ, God has taken our side in this life. Fortunately for my brother and me, God does not take sides in basketball.
Tom will be preaching downtown this Sunday where Life worship is at 10:00 in Brady Hall and traditional worship is in the sanctuary at 8:30 and 11:00. His sermon title is “King on a Cross,” based on Luke 23:33-43. Mitch returns to the west campus where contemporary worship is at 9:00 and 11:00.
Come home to church this Sunday. Come and be thankful.
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator