Throughout Advent, we posted blogs each week based on the Lectionary Readings for the previous Sunday. It was truly an awesome experience to travel through Advent with the universal church by praying, meditating, and responding to those texts. We loved it so much, we thought we’d do it again throughout Lent.
Here’s the story I’ll tell my friends when they come to worship, and punctuate it with Hallelujahs: Shout Hallelujah, you God-worshipers; give glory, you sons of Jacob; adore him, you daughters of Israel. He has never let you down, never looked the other way when you were being kicked around. He has never wandered off to do his own thing; he has been right there listening.
Here in this great gathering for worship I have discovered this praise-life. And I’ll do what I promised right here in front of the God-worshipers. Down-and-outers sit at God’s table and eat their fill. Everyone on the hunt for God is here, praising him. “Live it up, from head to toe. Don’t ever quit!”
From the four corners of the earth people are coming to their senses, are running back to God. Long-lost families are falling on their faces before him. God has taken charge; from now on he has the last word.
All the power-mongers are before him–worshiping! All the poor and powerless,too–worshiping! Along with those who never got it together–worshiping!
Our children and their children will get in on this as the word is passed along from parent to child. Babies not yet conceived will hear the good news–that God does what he says.
— Psalm 22:22-31 (The Message)
Getting in the last word is a desire for many. It seems to be a power position to be the last word. You ended the argument. You got in the final barb. Your comment is the one that people will remember. You won!
Yet, today’s reading gives us a different perspective on the last word. “God has taken charge; from now on he has the last word.” (verse 28)
He has the last word!
In that, we have hope. We don’t have to be the victor. We don’t have to end the argument. We simply have to allow Him to have the last word.
In another of our texts for this week (Mark 8:31-38), we find Jesus telling his disciples that they must “deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Him.” They must let Him have the last word.
The beauty of it all is when we allow Him to have the last word, we can sit at His table and eat our fill. We get to be a part of helping those from the four corners of the world to come back to Him. To let Him have the last word.
To let Him have the last word, is to forget what is behind and press on to that which is ahead (Philippians 3:13). It is to present yourself as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2). It is to seek the Kingdom of God before all things (Matthew 6:33).
Lent is all about letting Him have the last word. As we look to the cross, we look for Messiah to complete God’s rescue plan. We look for Messiah to bring Light into our Darkness and create order out of our chaos (John 1:1-14).
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around-life–and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. — Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)