Scott Sanders launches our Advent series by getting lost in the bush and finding the humble path - at expense of his pride.
Scott Sanders is the CEO of Common Grace.
Today's reading is Psalm 25:1-10
When I was nine years old, I went on a school bush walk. Full of energy and bravado, I ran off ahead with a couple of mates, but with clear instructions: if you come to a fork in the path, wait for the group.
We ran with abandon down the track, splashing through creeks, climbing up boulders, dodging corners and jumping over fallen trees. Then, a few minutes later, we came to a fork and, as instructed, we waited.
Five minutes passed. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. But the group hadn’t caught up.
Out of curiosity and confusion, we started to retrace our steps. But soon our curiosity gave way to fear, as we realised we’d lost the group. We discovered there were other forks in the road that we’d missed in our recklessness, and we weren’t confident which one the group had followed.
The energy and bravado that launched our reckless adventure had evaporated under a growing cloud of fear, and we became disoriented, afraid and unsafe.
And so we waited. In silence. In fear. In hope someone would come back.
In Psalm 25, David writes of his own experience of fear. His enemies exult over him and he has become disoriented, afraid and unsafe. Here, in his fear, he also waits. He waits for God to remember him, for God to lead him down the path of truth and mercy, for God to teach him the humble way, according to his steadfast love.
Right now, as a society, we’re at our own fork in the road, and it has the potential to divide us. As our experience of the world feels increasingly unsafe, we are choosing to withdraw from those who are different to us, to scapegoat marginalised communities, to retribalise into our echo chambers to the exclusion of others.
But what if, instead of fear, we waited?
Instead of forging down the path driven by our attitudes, we can chose the humble path of Christ, who always had time to sit with to those society neglected. By taking time this season to listen to our neighbours, to hear their stories and understand their perspectives, we may discover that there is far more that unites us than divides us – and we hope that’s what you experience through this Advent series.
On that day in the bush, two decades ago, we were promptly found by our teachers who noticed us missing in the headcount and retraced their steps. They found us waiting at a fork, ready to be guided down the humble path, rather than the one chartered by our attitudes.
May we too learn to wait, as Christ leads us away from fear and down the humble path, together.
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Daily Reading Psalm 25:1-10
Prayer for Guidance and for Deliverance
1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me.
3 Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.
6 Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!
8 Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.