Bread – Oriented

December 4, 2013


Readings for Wednesday, December 4, 2013, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Amos 3:12-4:5; 2 Pet. 3:1-10; Matt. 21:23-32; Psalms 12,13,14,119:1-24

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For those of you who follow along with the readings above from the Daily Office in the Book of Common Prayer, you will note that we have shifted from Year One to Year Two and gone from the back to the front. This is simply because the church calendar does not begin on January 1; it begins four weeks before Christmas, which we call Advent. Therefore, the readings are from the Week of 1 Advent, Year Two, for Wednesday.

Enough for orientation.

Except for the fact that our readings today are about orientation, setting our feet in the correct direction. In Amos, the people believed that their prosperity was a gift from God, when in fact it was built on oppression. Amos reminds Israel to not be oriented to wealth and prosperity but to the day of the Lord, when each person, pagan and Christian, will be judged. In Peter, the theme of the day of the Lord is picked up when he reminds the Christians of his age to ignore the scoffers who are asking, “where is God?,” and instead be oriented toward the promise of God that He will return, reminding them that God’s time and His timing is not ours. In Matthew, Jesus reminds us to be oriented toward action, dealing with ourselves and God honestly, recognizing the difference between acts and statements. The readings from Psalms orient us toward obedience to the commands of God, rather than adherence to the world’s requirements.

And all this orientation, when placed within the season of Advent, points us like a laser toward the Christ in Christmas, when God began construction of the bridge back to Him by sending His Son to be born among us as man.

In Amos, we are called to repentance because we are oriented toward outside circumstances rather than inside reality. When we re-orient toward our inward reality, we see our sin, which will be judged. In Matthew, Christ orients us away from pious words symbolizing nothing to action arising from our obedience to our calling as Christ’s saved. In Peter, we orient away from complaining about the present to anticipation of the future reality of His second coming.

I knew a kid once who was really proud of his ability to orient himself properly to the compass directions and, therefore, to a map. In fact, he won several contests because he was so good at it.

The map is only as good as your proper relationship, your proper orientation to it. Hold a map upside down and following it will lead you to lost city instead of found city. We have a map laid out for us in Scripture, by our Lord. But to read it, we must be in proper relationship to it. Are you one of the people in Amos who are so focused on your success that you fail to see your sin? Are you one of the people in Matthew who are so tied up in religiosity that you fail to realize that there is no good fruit? Are you one of the people in Peter who are so concerned about the present that there is no meaning in the future? If so, you need to re-orient yourself toward Christmas, not the holiday but the first coming of Christ – His arrival on earth to save you. Then the map will become much easier to read.

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© 2013 GBF

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