Friday, December 05, 2014

Comfort, Comfort Ye My People

After reading a blog post by Thabati Anyabwile a couple of days ago I have been challenged, in light of current events, to look past the distractions of looting and pillaging mobs (which are still a serious issue, yes) and to examine the root issues through the lens of the gospel.  Behind the sensationalism brought to us by the media lies deep pain and sadness, even fear.  A mother has lost a son.  A wife is now a widow.  The very institutions put in place to defend and protect are feared by an entire segment of our population, many of whom are my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I certainly don't expect to figure it all out or have all the answers, but I am trying to grow past my tendency to immediate and emotional reaction, and grow into more thoughtful, humble response.  I don't mean this to excuse the destruction of businesses or burning of police cars by the mobs; those are clearly wrong.  I am not agreeing with Al Sharpton and his inciters to division.  I am simply asking the Lord to open my heart to discern through all the twisted rhetoric the thread of truth, and to direct my response.

And then I read this in my morning devotions:

"That is why our Lord himself mourned, that is why he was 'a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;' that is why he wept at the grave of Lazarus.  He saw this horrid, ugly, foul thing called sin which had come into life and introduced death into life, and had upset life and made life unhappy.  He wept because of that; he groaned in his spirit.  And as he saw the city of Jerusalem rejecting him and bringing upon itself its own damnation, he wept because of it.  He mourned over it and so does his true follower, the one who has received his nature.  In other words, (we) must mourn because of the very nature of sin itself, because it has ever entered into the world and has led to these terrible results.  Indeed (we) mourn because we have some understanding of what sin means to God, of God's utter abhorrence and hatred of it, this terrible thing that would stab, as it were, into the heart of God, if it could, this rebelliousness and arrogance of man, the result of listening to Satan.  It grieves (us) and (we) mourn because of it."  ~Martin Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. (pronoun clarifications mine)

Every time we turn on the News we are getting a good look at the pain and suffering and sin from which we need to be saved; a salvation for which we desperately need a Savior.  Appropriate, isn't it, during this season of Advent?

Comfort, comfort ye my people,
speak ye peace, thus saith our God;
comfort those who sit in darkness,
mourning 'neath their sorrow's load;
speak ye to Jerusalem
of the peace that waits for them;
tell her that her sins I cover,
and her warfare now is over.

Yea, her sins our God will pardon, 
blotting out each dark misdeed;
all that well deserved His anger 
He no more will see or heed.
She hath suffered many a day,
 now her griefs have passed away;
God will change her pining sadness 
into ever-springing gladness.

For the herald's voice is crying
in the desert far and near,
bidding all men to repentance,
since the kingdom now is here.
O that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way!
Let the valleys rise to meet him,
and the hills bow down to greet him.

Make ye straight what long was crooked,
make the rougher places plain:
let your hearts be true and humble,
as befits his holy reign,
For the glory of the Lord
now o'er the earth is shed abroad,
and all flesh shall see the token
that his word is never broken.

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