“Therefore, wait for me, says the LORD, for the day when I arise as a witness. For my decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, . . I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord. . . .The king of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more. I will save the lame and gather the outcast and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.” (Zephaniah 3:ff)
Our world has become very small during this pandemic. It has the impact of a world war. Millions are experiencing fear and death on every continent, and when the vaccine or cure becomes available, we will all celebrate. In the meantime, we wait.
Jesus changed the composition of the “chosen people” from a select group of Hebrews to people of every tribe and nation. He preserved his covenant through a few faithful followers until the time of his first coming. But the angels proclaimed peace to the whole earth, not just Israel.
Jesus is the antidote for original sin that entered through Adam and Eve. He is the long-awaited cure to a disease that isolated us from the presence of God. It was almost two millennia from the time of Abraham to Jesus, and we have waited over two millennia for his expected return. God is not in a hurry.
It is ironic that access to the LORD came through rejection. The gospel scattered throughout the whole world because followers of Jesus were excluded from the synagogues and persecuted by religious leaders. The Holy Spirit did the rest through the work of Paul and the apostles. They crossed over from sharing the message exclusively with the Jews to including the Gentiles. Access to the throne of God was made available to “whosoever will” the moment the veil in the temple was shred in two by Jesus’s resurrection. We do not choose the means by which God’s message is spread; we are merely carriers.
“LORD, we are inheritors of the gospel, preserved through the centuries in scripture and tradition. We celebrate with the angels that the good news is to all nations. Your children are found in every tribe and race, and in Jesus, we speak the same language. Expand our circle of love to include the whole world.” Amen.
Mindi Oaten’s painting “Our Unity”is from God’s Garden of Grace collection.