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July 19, 2020 – The 7th Sunday after Pentecost – What are we waiting for?

Week 2 – The People of God in a Strange Land
Zephaniah 1:14-18, 3:14-20 Call to a different way of life.

The day of the Lord comes. It comes with condemnation, justice, and punishment. In the first part of the reading, the day of the Lord comes, and we don’t want to see it come. It comes with consequences for misbehavior, for sin, for turning away from God. It comes with images as of war. It comes with the sense that one cannot buy one’s way out of it.

The second part of the passage reverses that image of the coming day of the Lord. The Lord is in their midst, and will give them strength and victory. The people will be gathered, and their fortunes will be restored. The
Lord will protect them from disaster. God will save the lame and the outcast, and turn their shame into joy.

What is our sense of the coming day of the Lord? Is it part 1, with punishment, indictment, ruthless, merciless justice, and living in a war zone? Is it part 2, with God intervening and protecting, redeeming and
restoring, rejoicing and exulting over us? Is it either/or ? Is it both/and? Is it some of column A and some of column B? What do we have to learn from the contrasting images of the day of the Lord from the prophets?