Malachi writes in chapter 3:1 of his Old Testament book: “Look, I’m sending my messenger on ahead to clear the way for me. Suddenly, out of the blue, the Leader you’ve been looking for will enter his Temple…” (The Message)
Malachi may as well have been shouting from a rooftop with one of those megaphones we hear more than see at an outdoor baseball game. Further in the chapter we read that even though the descendants of Jacob have not listened well to God, he hasn’t destroyed them. He’s got something big coming that he believes will help them understand.
In the revised common lectionary, Malachi’s text shows up in The Presentation of the Lord alongside the reference for Jesus’s baptism in Luke 2. A fitting pair. John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus. God had a plan. We learn that it’s not just for the descendants of Jacob, but all people. Put that thought on hold for a moment.
If you’ve been in the big bookstore, you know where to find most things based on the signs above the rows of shelves. There’s fiction, books for children, texts on spirituality, music, art, religion, and poetry. Then all those gift items. If you’re looking for self-help, there’s a big section. Find just about anything there — how to manage your finances, how to sew, how to plant your garden. Seeking something deeper? It’s there too. If the store doesn’t have what you’re looking for, it can be ordered.
Back to looking for God, if you’re having trouble finding him. Where do you search? Do you find him in the mail-order catalog? On the bookstore shelves? A Little Library shelf? Just because you can order or pick up a print copy, or recording, of the Bible and sacred texts, doesn’t mean you automatically understand it.
it, learn about it, and keep on learning. Sermons you’ve been hearing in
worship services, or online, can help to understand context. You can also do a study of
scripture, such as lectio divina. Is there someone you can study with?
The good news is that God can be found in the stories and teachings. You may feel him near you on a bad day. It could be that a person, acting as God’s hands or feet, may just help you get back up when you’ve fallen. Keep looking. You’ll find him.