Thursday, February 23, 2023
Read: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Who is Joel and what do we know about him?
Joel, whose name in Hebrew means “Yawheh is God,” is one of several divinely appointed prophets called by God to deliver a message of warning and repentance to the southern kingdom of Judah. Judah had been in a state of disarray and decline for years, both economically and spiritually due to attacks from various surrounding nations.
This reading begins by exclaiming: “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain!” as Joel promises that this day is coming like no other appearance as before. “a great and powerful army comes; their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them in ages to come.” Joel 2:2
God has given us many physical signs and wonders of the earth as a reminder of God’s sovereignty and coming judgment in this first scripture. It may be difficult for some of you to think of the judgment of God versus the unconditional love. This vivid description of a great army, yet to come seems ‘unloving’. Yet, we know that a parent who is full of love is often called to judge their children’s missteps and call them to correction.
Joel returns our thoughts to God’s love for us and his desire for the people to return to him with yet another trumpet sounding. This trumpet calls the people to remember God and his ways. The priests are called to pray, lament and encourage God’s people to respond with faithfulness so that no one will ask, “Where is their God?’ ” Joel 2:17
Lord, as we, the people who have heard the trumpet’s sound, yield to your judgement and steadfast love, that calls us to remember with gratefulness your goodness. Let us remember our sisters and brothers who were disconnected from your ways in Judah and how you called them to return to you. Yesterday, as we observed, Ash Wednesday, a holy day of prayer and fasting, the sound of the trumpet called us to you and you only God. In this Lenten Season, we are grateful to be called your people who seek you today, tomorrow and forever, for you love us all. Amen.
Certified Lay Minister
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