The Day of the Lord

On November 18, 2019, in Sunshine Cathedral, by Rev.Dr. Robert

The Day of the Lord Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins Malachi 4.1-6 Let us dwell together in peace and let us not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression; now, may God’s word be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen. A day is coming, we are told in both prophetic and apocalyptic literature, […]

The Day of the Lord
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins
Malachi 4.1-6

Let us dwell together in peace and let us not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression; now, may God’s word be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen.

A day is coming, we are told in both prophetic and apocalyptic literature, a day is coming that is going to be eventful. The sages called the upcoming day the day of the Lord…but even though several prophets and preachers imagined an upcoming day of the Lord, they all seemed to mean different things by it.

Some thought the day would be a day of battle.

Some thought the day would be a natural disaster…flood, fire, wind, earthquake.

Still others thought the day of the lord would be some sort of cosmic event.

So…people have all kinds of ideas about what the day of the Lord will be…but its big and its coming.

Malachi is one more prophet using the day of the lord motif. But I like what he does with it.
He says something big and possibly difficult may be in the future, but he also promises healing.

Hard times come. Things aren’t always easy. Of course trouble will come…it has before and it probably will again…BUT, to those who revere God’s names (Nature), the sun of justice, the sun of righteousness, the sun of goodness will rise with healing in its rays.

What is god’s nature?
Presence.
Love.
Life.
Wisdom.

Crap happens, but for those who know God as omnipresence, comfort is always available.
Hate and bigotry may try to tear the world apart, but those who know God as love will always see past hate’s lies and will always find something good to strive toward.

Peril and danger may come, but those who know God as life will remember that nothing can separate us from the source of our lives.
Problems come and sometimes like an avalanche, but those who know god as wisdom will trust that there are answers to problems and we can find them.

Days may be coming when transgender women of color are killed almost weekly,
Days may be coming when children are separated from their parents in heartless and needless ways,
Days may be coming with children live in fear of school shootings,
Days may be coming when wars are waged on nations, communities, and even the environment itself,
Days may be coming where honesty and integrity and fairness and kindness are all but lost or forgotten,
BUT to those who know that God is love, life, presence and wisdom, healing rays will shine and hope will be renewed and peace will be possible.

If you know the nature of god to be good, you’ll have joy that circumstances cannot take away…you’ll break out into dancing…it may look ridiculous, like a cow leaping out of the barn, but you’ll be so happy you won’t care.

And what happens while we’re dancing for joy? We know that god is not vengeful, petty, or cruel. We know that god is love and there’s not a spot where god is not and we are each god’s miracle and not god’s mistake so we have joy and we dance like leaping cows and while we dance we stomp on the wicked.

That isn’t telling us to do harm to people we’ve judged to be wicked….that’s how religion plays sometimes, but that isn’t the way of the god of love, the god of joy. Our dance is a joy dance, not a war dance. No, the wicked we stamp out are wicked thoughts….thoughts of bigotry, thoughts of xenophobia, thoughts of domination, thoughts of exploitation, thoughts of greed, thoughts that would deny anyone dignity or hope or a hand up in a moment of need. We know god’s good nature and we will have too much joy to try to make anyone else miserable, and too much joy to let anyone keep us miserable.

Malachi asks his community to remember Moses who gave the commandments – take care of the elders, don’t lie about people, don’t steal, don’t murder, don’t begrudge your neighbor their joys and good fortune, don’t break the vows you make…these are all ways of saying, be kind, be loyal, be loving, don’t try to hurt people, in fact, try to help and even to heal people. Those are god’s commandments delivered by moses. We who know god’s nature know that god’s commandments can be summarized in a single word: love.

Malachi also says that Elijah will return. Elijah was a fierce prophet. He stood up to government abuse. He challenged those who gained power and privilege by oppressing minorities. Malachi says Elijah will be back to stand against bigotry and cruelty and hatred.

Jesus compared John the baptizer. At the Passover meal, his last supper, he drank from Elijah’s cup.
Maybe we are the return of Elijah. I believe we are even the return of Christ. Bad days happen, but god in us is present to shine healing rays into our lives, and through us, into the world.

Malachi imagines god saying, “I will send Elijah and I will not strike the land with a curse.” Maybe we are the cure, the healing presence, the healing rays.

If god is omnipresent, then every day is god’s day. And those who know god to be good can rejoice no matter what circumstances may be. And if we know god to be good, we can be the prophetic voice sharing good news with the world, the good news that all people have sacred value, the good news of god’s all-inclusive, unconditional, everlasting love. And when enough of us embrace that message, there is no curse, there is just us experiencing and sharing the power of love.

God’s about cures, not curses.
God’s not coming; God is here.
God is love, and those who know that have joy in their lives.
And this is the good news. Amen.

Every day is God’s day.
I trust the one Power.
I am serene, peaceful, and joyful.
Alleluia!
Amen.

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