February 2, 2020
To call this little white thing on my keys a lifesaver might be a bit of an exaggeration but it sure has saved me some frustrations. I lose my keys a lot. Well, I don’t actually lose them as so much as I just don’t know where they are at the moment. They might be in the copier room or in the cushion of my couch or in the refrigerator. (Yes, I actually did that, once.) It’s called a TILE and I have one on my office keys and another one on my car keys. So, as long as I don’t lose my phone, there is an app that will always be able to track down were my keys are.
Losing your keys is one thing. Losing the glory of God is another. But that is exactly where God’s people found themselves. It was the prophet Ezekiel who first named it. He said the glory of God had left the temple. Now, certainly, God would not, could not remove his glory; God cannot somehow not be, but the people had lost sight of that glory. No longer did they find comfort in God’s presence. They had lost the honor and dignity of what it meant to be God’s chosen ones. No longer could they find the path of justice which could lead them to God. No longer were they able to find the strength and confidence and hopefulness that the presence of God had offered. The glory of God was lost.
Many years later it was Malachi, another prophet, that voiced the anticipation of the return of that glory. But, Malachi reminds us, the return of God’s glory would not happen without purification, without repentance, without a change of heart and a change of life.
It was within that hope that Simeon spent his days awaiting the consolation of Israel. He was told that he would not die until he had seen the Christ, the Savior. It was in that promise that Anna, living to an extraordinary old age, worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer until that glorious day when this young couple, simply fulfilling the laws of their faith, entered the temple with a newborn boy by the name of Jesus.
My sisters, my brothers, we all find ourselves at times where the glory of God has disappeared from our lives. There are times that we forget the honor and dignity of what it means to be called children of God. Sometimes grief or disappointment robs us of comfort that our faith once brought. We have and most likely will again lose our way because of greed or ambition or anger or jealousy. We will struggle to find the strength we need to fight the darkness or the confidence we need to face our adversary or the hopefulness we need to bring joy to our hearts. Or maybe it’s just that we forget, forget how blessed we are. And the glory of God, in a real sense, at times disappears.
In those times, by brothers and sisters, we don’t need another app on our phones. We need to do what Simeon did and what Anna did.
First, we remember the roots of our faith. We remember that God has been, is now, and ever shall be with us. We hold on to that belief that God cannot and will not abandon us, even if what we hold on to is the tiniest thread of faith. It is that tiniest of threads that when woven with others’ tiniest threads of faith becomes the strongest of ropes. We gather with others in the church, we share the Body and Blood of Christ and we listen the Word of God and this, like it has for generations past, sustains us in dark times and brings us back to find God’s glory among us.
And we pray – night and day, in winter and summer, in good times and in challenging times. We pray as if our very life depends upon it because it does. We pray when we feel like it and we pray when we don’t. We pray with silent anticipation and we pray with words of pleading. If we are to continue to see the glory of God shine in this world and in our lives, we need to pray.
And like Jesus, we will grow and become strong, be filled with wisdom, and the glory of God will be upon us.