Wednesday, December 19
8 Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;
but let them not turn back to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land.
10 Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs up from the ground,
and righteousness looks down from the sky.
12 Yes, the Lord will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
13 Righteousness will go before him
and make his footsteps a way.
Would you and I stand right before our God? That’s one question Advent bids us ask.
The faithfulness springing up under our feet brings great joy to the righteousness looking down, way beyond the blue. Nowhere is this the case than with sincere penitence. Only then shall righteousness and peace kiss each other.
St. Augustine’s exposition of the text challenges us to get real. Man’s righteousness “consists in confession of sins: for this is truth itself”. The confession of sins makes for God a way into our hearts. It is the greatest possible sacrifice we can send heavenwards. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. (Psalm 51:17)
Really, given my tangled black heart, that sum of all my sins, lies there another way to make room for God to enter the same, to make me to acknowledge him as my good Lord? Acknowledge that I too am to follow in his train, making his way in things mine own way?
Can God make you and me good without confessing how we have run from him?
Again, consider in the passage below what Augustine writes regarding your responsibility and mine given the advent of God’s anointed son:
“John …was baptizing in the water of repentance, and would have men come to him repenting of their former deeds, spoke thus: Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. You pleased yourself in your sins, O man: let that which you were displease you, that you may be able to become what you were not. Prepare the way of the Lord: let that righteousness go before, of confession of sins: He will come and visit you, for now He has where to place His steps, He has whereby He may come to you. Before you confessed your sins, you had shut up the way of God: there was no way by which He might come unto you. Confess your past life, and you open a way; and Christ shall come unto you, and shall place His steps in the way, that He may guide you with His own footsteps.”
Forgive me my sins, O Lord; forgive me the sins of my youth and the sins of mine age, the sins of my soul and the sins of my body, my secret and my whispering sins, the sins I have done to please myself and the sins I have done to please others. Forgive those sins which I know, and the sins which I know not; forgive them, O Lord, forgive them all of Thy great goodness. Amen.