Today we read Psalm 95 and Colossians 1:9-23
My mother used to tell the story of the first visit to our house of the District Superintendent. In the church that I grew up in, and that my Dad pastored in, the DS was about as close to a visit from royalty as you could get. He was my Dad’s boss. He was over the whole state of South Carolina as far as the church goes. And he was appointed by God to make you or break you in the minds of the very young, struggling pastor and wife, in Rock Hill, SC.
He came to speak at our church on a Sunday and, as was the custom back then, we invited him and his wife to eat Sunday dinner in our home. Mom had been feverishly cleaning the little parsonage. Dad had been feverishly cleaning the little church that was right next door. When they were both finished, they began to feverishly clean us, me and my three sisters, and talk to us sternly about the importance of this visit, the gravitas of the visitors, the fact that SC allowed the death penalty for children who misbehaved during the visit of dignitaries.
Sunday came. Service was over. Sunday dinner was on the table. And we sat, spit-shined, in our assigned spots around the table as the blessing was said. My Mom, for some reason, had decided to boil corn on the cob for that meal. That in itself seems like a strategic miscalculation. The corn was passed. The wife of the DS began to take a knife and slice the corn off of the cob. (Completely defeating in my mind, the whole purpose of corn on the cob.) We 4 children watched in fascination until finally, Chonda could keep her curiosity in no longer and blurted out what seemed at the time to be a pretty legitimate question, “What’s the matter? Ain’t you got no teeth?”
Apparently, the wife of the DS did have a very nice set of store-bought teeth and she just about spit them out on the Sunday dinner table. And at that moment, my Dad’s career trajectory flattened out and his life of pastoring very small little churches was set.
We are preparing for the coming of a dignitary during these 40 days. And not just any dignitary. Paul recites a poem in the Colossian reading today that puts this coming dignitary in perspective. “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation.” Vs 15 This is not just your average DS we are getting ready for. This is “Christ, the head of the church, which is His body. He is the beginning, supreme over everything. The first one to rise from the dead so that He is first in everything.” Vs 18 This coming King deserves our very best preparation.
If you knew that This King was coming to Sunday dinner this week, how would you prepare differently? I bet you’d clean the house feverishly. You’d spit shine the kids. And you get out the very best China. But He would not be interested in any of that. “Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks at the heart.”
Here are some questions: Are there some people in my life that I need to forgive?
Are there some attitudes of bitterness that I need to clean out?
Am I more focused on the stuff of this world than the Kingdom of God?
As we prepare to Celebrate the King who is coming, ask yourself these questions today. As God brings things up in your memory, clean them out by giving them to Him. You will be amazed at how much better the Sunday dinner will go. And by the way, don’t make boiled corn on the cob. See you tomorrow.
Here’s a prayer to pray this week:
“Almighty God who came to us long ago in the form of a Baby, be born in us anew today by the power of Your Holy Spirit. We offer our lives as home to You and ask for grace and strength to live as Your faithful, joyful, children always. Amen”
A beautiful reminder not to worry about a clean house for Christmas…but a clean heart. God bless you for those words this morning, Mike.
This was too funny. One Thanksgiving, at a table full of family and friends, my brother, about 10 at the time, was swallowing his tea and to my mother, it sounded like he was belching. She slapped the glass out of his hand and told him to mind his manners. He defended himself telling her he was just swallowing. Her response was ‘well learn to swallow quietly’. He did!