Reading: Psalm 42; Ezekiel 47:1-12; Jude 17-25
But you, beloved, must remember the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; for they said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, indulging their ungodly lusts.” It is these worldly people, devoid of the Spirit, who are causing divisions. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on some who are wavering; save others by snatching them out of the fire; and have mercy on still others with fear, hating even the tunic defiled by their bodies.
Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 17-25, NRSV
[Just before Revelation, you’ll find Jude – just a few short verses before it’s the end of the world as we know it finishes out the canon. This is the end of the letter, the last few words of advice and farewell, and a benediction to end it all.]
We spend years getting to the point where we can stand on our own two feet. From helpless infancy through dependent childhood, from prickly adolescence to self-sufficient adulthood, we go from being carried to standing on our own. But in the process, we can lose sight of something important: we don’t grow through it all just for our own benefit. We grow so that we can move from needing a helping hand to offering one. Growth and greater independence isn’t for moving away from everyone else so much as it is for becoming a solid presence when others need stability.
If we happen to grow in wisdom as well as stature, we just might remember something important: no matter how sturdy our legs, we will waver and fall without God’s embrace keeping us steady.
Lord, hold my hand and keep me steady on this road to Bethlehem. Amen.