What can we do to maintain order in our world?
If order comes from being connected, connected to God and to each other, then disorder is that imbalance we create when we stop living consciously as Christians. Faith is not passive! And our readings this week challenge us to remember that, and to live intentionally, nurturing our relationships as a means to life-giving justice for all.
In our first reading from Malachi, the prophet reminds his listeners that all will be tested by fire – the day is coming that will set them on fire, he says. Those who have no substantive relationship with God because they are too proud to pay attention to God will perish. But those who are in right relationship and fear God’s name will know the sun of justice and its healing rays. Order will win out over disorder, and balance, or justice, will surely come, as Psalm 98 reminds us: The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
For Jesus, disorder was apparent when people believed their security was grounded in tangible things, like the spectacular temple Herod has built, a temple that would soon be destroyed. Instead, in Luke's Gospel Jesus says, pay attention to the intangible: persevere in relationship and not a hair on your head will be destroyed. When disorder rages through the land, the disciples must be confident that God will know them, because they have opened their hearts and tried to know God in this life on earth: By your perseverance, you will secure your lives, and order will win out over disorder.
How? Well, at least in part by doing what Paul encourages the Thessalonians to do: by being there for one another, helping one another, making their lives gift to one another, no matter what their fortunes might be. God’s love is enough, Paul says; live it actively. Be involved, be charitable Christians, because connection – to other, and to God – is the key to ensuring justice, and order, for all.
This post is based on Fr. Pat's Scripture class.