By: Matthew Hyatt
Reflection—v. 1, ‘the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple.’
I read this text and had an image of God walking into the temple and not being anything like what we expect. But God does not show up in the temple only, and ‘preparing the way’ is not just about getting a church building ready. That is like trying to put God in a box and only looking in that box, instead of all those other places where God shows up, too. We say that we want to have God in our lives, but we also like to confine God to the church. When I think about the ways I hear people talk about those seeking asylum, I cannot help but to think about what Jesus said about how when we clothe, feed, visit, and welcome the stranger: we welcome him and the one who sent him. To welcome the stranger is to prepare the way for God. This passage opens with the prophecy, ‘I am sending my messenger to prepare the way.’ But the author of Malachi does not name a specific messenger. Quite frankly, we can all be messengers preparing the way for God to show up, both in and outside of the church. That God ‘suddenly comes’ to the temple tells that the temple cannot be the only place to find God. We cannot control or force God to show up anywhere. But what we can do is prepare the way wherever we go by the way we treat others so that when God comes, the way is prepared.
Prayer: God, we are seeking you. May we be open to meeting you in unexpected ways and places, and seeing you in every stranger’s face.