We are in the second week of Advent. Last week, we lit the candle of Hope as we heard that Jesus’ return brings us hope in the midst of despair. This morning, we hear from the prophet Malachi:
“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.
2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4 and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.
Imagine this scenario: An 8-year-old boy wearing jeans and going outside to play. We all know what will happen, right? The jeans that he has on will come back with grass stains and covered in dirt. The boys loving parents will take the jeans and treat them with stain remover and wash the jeans so that they are wearable. Of course, the boy will continue to get the jeans covered in stains and the loving parents will continue to clean the jeans.
The prophet Malachi tells us that God will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. A refiner’s fire would melt metal and cause the impurities to rise to the top to be skimmed off. The launderer would use lye soap to remove stains and to whiten fabric. Like the boy whose parents continue to clean his jeans, God’s love works in our lives to refine and purify us so that we can stand in God’s presence.
Why does God do this? God refines and purifies us because God loves us. The Gospel of John records:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
This morning we light the second candle, the Candle of Love, remember that God loves us and sent Jesus to us so that we might experience that love. This morning, and in the mornings to come, let us choose to experience the love and God and to share that love with those we meet.
Let us pray:
Loving God, as we light the second candle on our advent wreath, help us to live in love by living in you. May your LOVE always be on our mind, our lips, and our hearts. Amen.