Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18 (NRSV)
Verse 7Be silent before the Lord God! For the day of the Lord is at hand; the Lord has prepared a sacrifice, he has consecrated his guests. Verse 12At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the people who rest complacently on their dregs, those who say in their hearts, "The Lord will not do good, nor will he do harm." Verse 13Their wealth shall be plundered, and their houses laid waste. Though they build houses, they shall not inhabit them; though they plant vineyards, they shall not drink wine from them.
Verse 14The great day of the Lord is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter, the warrior cries aloud there. Verse 15That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, Verse 16a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements. Verse 17I will bring such distress upon people that they shall walk like the blind; because they have sinned against the Lord, their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. Verse 18Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord's wrath; in the fire of his passion the whole earth shall be consumed; for a full, a terrible end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.
The last time I wrote God Pause Devotions, I was serving a “big church” in rural South Dakota. Now I write from a small church in Los Angeles, in the City of Hawthorne, appropriately dubbed “The City of Good Neighbors.” Quite a transformation. This week I invite us to walk together as we are pursued by the Good News.
Friday, March 13, 2020 much of our world came to a halt. We had tickets to fly to LA that weekend and waited almost three hours before the airlines finally cancelled them. I am reminded of that day as I hear Zephaniah, God’s prophet, announce the “Day of the Lord.” His words call for the transformation of a people who have become so complacent they do not believe in God’s ability to act. Wow, were they wrong.
I am also mindful of our recent elections, even though I am writing before that day. God’s word always calls us to repentance as a prophetic people called anew each day to live on behalf of our neighbors.
Turn our hearts inside out, and turn our complacency in the direction of those who need it most: our neighbor that you, O God, have set before us. In Jesus’s name, Amen.