- Day 1: Malachi 1:1-5
- Day 2: Malachi 1:6-2:9
- Day 3: Malachi 2:10-17
- Day 4: Malachi 3:1-7
- Day 5: Malachi 3:8-15
- Day 6: Malachi 3:16-18
- Day 7: Malachi 4
Power of the eternal Father, help me. Wisdom of the Son, enlighten the eye of my understanding. Tender mercy of the Holy Spirit, unite my heart to yourself. Eternal God, restore health to the sick and life to the dead. Give us a voice, your own voice, to cry out to your for mercy for the world. You, light, give us light. You, wisdom, give us wisdom. You, supreme strength, strengthen us. Amen.St. cATHERINE OF SIENNA (ELW 87)
Malachi draws attention to the kind of sacrifices that the Israelites are making.. The LORD tells them that they are not making the appropriate sacrifices nor are they behaving correctly and they haven’t been for generations. The people are told to make the appropriate sacrifices (unblemished animals), by doing so they will return to the LORD. The LORD does not want to punish the people, and gives them the opportunity to change their behavior and tells them that he will send Elijah to them to guide them in their returning.
We no longer make animal sacrifices to the LORD. However, we do make sacrifices or at least that’s what we should be doing. What is worship if not a sacrifice? We make an offering of all that we have and are to the LORD. Our wider culture has a tendency to avoid language of sacrifice. We are surrounded by churches whose theology looks more like a self-help book than it does an historical ecumenical creed. At no point in the Bible are we told that faithful living will be about us, rather we are told time and time again that faithful living is about sacrifice and how we treat our neighbors. Love the LORD your God, by making sacrifices. Love your neighbor, by making sacrifices. Love the LORD your God, by loving your neighbor.
Sacrificial language makes us uncomfortable, because our culture is self-centered and self-serving. Faithful living requires us to be God-centered and God-serving. One of my favorite theological texts on sacrifice, For the Life of the World, was written by the Orthodox priest and theologian Alexander Schmemann, the text explores the relationship between our sacrificial life and sacraments. While, the text is written from his orthodox lens, it contains larger truths about the church including, “Christian mission is not to preach Christ, but to be Christians in life.” Rather, than hide from the language of sacrifice, we need to embrace it. For it is in embracing the sacrificial life, that we return to the LORD. Amen.
- How can we as a community return to the LORD?
- How can we as individulas return to the LORD?
- Where do you see Schmemann’s quote, “Christian mission is not to preach Christ, but to be Christians in life,” at work in your life? How are you being Christian in your life? How are we doing it as a community?
- Reflect on your first week of Our Mighty Small Summer. Did you treat your practice this week as a sacrifice? Or did you participate so that you could say you did so? What parts of the practice worked for you and what didn’t work for you?