• Steven Marsh

For Such a Time As This: a Reflection on Psalm 44, Isaiah 61:1-9, 2 Timothy 3:1-17, and Mark 10:32-5

We should not be surprised by ISIS. Its ideology of fear, hate, and extremism will continue. We’ve seen that approach through malevolent leaders in history.

ISIS “uses” Islam to spread its reign of terror. ISIS is a terrorist group. And the focal point of its beheadings and burnings is the Middle East. Muslims and Christians are targets. When religion is used as a weapon in terror’s arsenal, it is even worse.

The psalmist declares that the people of God are listening to God, yet life’s circumstances have gone from bad to worse. I wonder how well the people were listening then and we are listening now.  Redemption is our cry while at the same time bemoaning and questioning God’s presence. We seek redemption as a vindication of God’s steadfast love. Something’s wrong with that.

Redemption is needed now. As a Christian in the West, I cannot grasp the full implications of the global human need. I don’t lack anything. God appears to be meeting my every need. And as long as things go on “swimmingly” I won’t complain. Are Western Christians aware of their need of redemption as much as Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists around the world? Perhaps redemption that is needed as little to do with “eternal matters” as it does with the day to day of economics, housing, food, and basic justice.

God is not absent. It just might be that the church is missing the mark of its missional purpose. Jesus brought good news to the oppressed, marginalized, lost, and hungry. Is that what the church does? Paul argues that in the last days times will be distressing and people, religious people, will be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Ouch!!

We are in need of redemption; redemption of the heart from selfishness to service. It is time for the servant heart of the messiah to rise up in the messiah’s church.

Scripture readings are taken from the two-year daily lectionary cycle which follows the liturgical calendar and begins on the First Sunday of Advent.

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