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A message for the week starting on Sunday 12 December 2021

Lectionary Week: Advent 3

Prescribed Texts: Zephaniah 3:14-20, Isaiah 12:2-6, Philippians 4:4-7, Luke 3:7-18

A Divine Promise Actioned in Human Intervention

Focus Text:  Zephaniah 3:14-20

When we look at the book of Zephaniah from which our text comes, we see that God promises salvation, deliverance from enemies and then we have verse seventeen, one of my favourite verses, proclaiming: God is with us and He is mighty enough to save us.

The question I pose, is: while this is an Old Testament text that is speaking to the plight of the Israelites, what bearing does it have on us in the light of the New Testament? Texts to consider: We are the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:27); We are co-workers of God (1 Corinthians 3:9).

God is indeed The Mighty One to save us, to change the plight of humanity, and we look towards the heavens awaiting that lightning bolt to strike. BUT just maybe heaven is looking towards us from time to time, willing us to move into action out of own accord. The gospel group called Casting Crowns sings a song called: If we are the body. The lyrics encapsulate this thought. Here is a portion from the chorus:

“But if we are the body
Why aren’t His arms reaching?
Why aren’t His hands healing?
Why aren’t His words teaching?”

And if we are the body
Why aren’t His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them
There is a way, there is a way”

Verse seventeen ends with the declaration that God rejoices and He sings over them as their salvation has come. Let us allow God to rejoice and sing over the lives we touch with the “salvation” that is in our own hands. We are living in a world that cries out to each one of us to take up a role as part of the Body of Christ. Let us touch the world as prophets and priests to see the healing and restoration of all the peoples of this earth.

To think about: God asked Moses what he had in his hand and all he had, was his rod. With it the Red Sea was separated and water also came gushing from a rock. We have education, influence and all the resources that we have accumulated, available right here in our own hands. We are already in the Christmas season at a time where so many people have lost their livelihood due to the impact of COVID, unemployment and the death of breadwinners. If we truly are the Body of Christ, let us move into action and touch lives around us.

Written by: Rev. Clive Swartz, trained Churches Channels of Hope (CCOH) facilitator, former CABSA programme co-ordinator