An Invitation to Turn

Read: Matthew 3:1-12

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand . . . Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. (vv. 2, 8)

Last Tuesday we reflected on “Living while Waiting,” prompted by Paul’s letter to a church harried over the second coming of the Messiah. Now, here we are again, though with an eccentric prophet in the desert shouting about the coming of the Messiah for the first time. Eccentric? That’s putting it mildly for a weather-beaten guy who lives alone in the woods, wears homemade clothes of animal pelts, rarely shaves, and lives on honey-crisped insects. Does this sound like someone we might be inclined to ignore?

Through him, God captured the spiritual devotion of hundreds, even thousands, of average, respectable and even not-so-respectable people—people like you and me. They had come from the city, the villages, and the countryside, along all the byways between, compelled by a simple invitation to repent. It’s an invitation to turn: to turn away from violence, judgment, gossip, hate, and all evil, which resists the kingdom of the Messiah; and to turn toward hospitality, encouragement, patience, faith, joy, gratitude and all that is good. This is the essence of living while waiting for the Messiah to come, and to come again.

As you wait, who is calling you to turn? Someone you ignore? What are you being called to turn away from? What to turn toward? —Sue Rozeboom

As you pray, listen for God’s responses.

About the Author

Dr. Sue Rozeboom is the Associate Professor of Liturgical Theology at Western Theological Seminary, where she and students together delve deeply into topics such as the Trinity and Christian Worship, the Holy Spirit and the Sacraments, historical Christian practices and what we can learn from them for the church today.

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