READ: Malachi 3-4

THINK: Saint Iranaeus once said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” For a few minutes, think about the second half of that statement and consider what it means to be “fully alive.” Have you ever felt this way? When? What were you doing?

REREAD: Malachi 3:1-5 from The Message:

“Look! I’m sending my messenger on ahead to clear the way for me. Suddenly, out of the blue, the Leader you’ve been looking for will enter his Temple—yes, the Messenger of the Covenant, the one you’ve been waiting for. Look! He’s on his way!” A Message from the mouth of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

But who will be able to stand up to that coming? Who can survive his appearance?

He’ll be like white-hot fire from the smelter’s furnace. He’ll be like the strongest lye soap at the laundry. He’ll take his place as a refiner of silver, as a cleanser of dirty clothes. He’ll scrub the Levite priests clean, refine them like gold and silver, until they’re fit for God, fit to present offerings of righteousness. Then, and only then, will Judah and Jerusalem be fit and pleasing to God, as they used to be in the years long ago.

 “Yes, I’m on my way to visit you with Judgment. I’ll present compelling evidence against sorcerers, adulterers, liars, those who exploit workers, those who take advantage of widows and orphans, those who are inhospitable to the homeless—anyone and everyone who doesn’t honor me.” A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

PRAY: With your understanding of what it looks like for you to be fully alive in one hand and your awareness of God’s desire for your purity in the other, explore how you do or do not see the two connecting. Maybe you can easily see God’s presence with you in your picture of yourself fully alive, or maybe that’s hard to do; maybe you think living fully must be done behind God’s back. Be honest – even if you recognize that your beliefs are not true, tell the truth of what’s in your heart.

LIVE: Sit quietly with God, opening yourself to what he might want to say in response to what you’ve shared with him today. You might look back at the passage or reconsider Irenaeus’s words. Wonder at the freedom intrinsic in someone who is fully alive and pure before God.

– Adapted from Eugene Peterson in Solo

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