But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?
For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver,
and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver,
until they present offerings to the LORD in righteousness. ~ Malachi 3:2-3
Day after day, O God, we call to you for change and redemption in our broken world. But Malachi reminds us that often change and redemption must begin with us, in the refining and purifying of our own lives and our own habits. As we look at the news across the world this week, help us to see our own shortcoming reflected in the stories we read:
- Remind us of the consequences of our abuse of the earth and our desire for lifestyles of convenience at the expense of your creation as freezing temperatures in the United States and record heat in Australia cause the deaths of people and animals.
- Remind us of our responsibility to each other as unrest in Venezuela and Zimbabwe continues to disproportionately hurt vulnerable populations like women and those experiencing poverty.
- Remind us of the effects of our desire for power and control as we watch millions of your children suffer in war-torn countries like Yemen, Syria, and South Sudan, where daily suffering is too often and too easily ignored.
- Remind us of our power to effect change in our political systems, even as we watch with weary eyes as Brexit conflict continues in the United Kingdom, hateful and incendiary language continues to pour from government leaders in the United States, and countries around the world continue the trend of turning inward and denying their duty to care for the last and least of those you created and love.
Be with us, Holy One, as we look at the mirror that shows us who we truly are, facing with boldness the role that our sin plays in the suffering of our world and even our own friends and families. Remind us that we can face our sinful selves without fear because we know that your purifying and refining grace have worked and will continue to work in each of us, transforming us into the people you call us to be so that we, in turn, might participate in your great mission of transforming the world. Teach us to pray with deep conviction and purpose, God of love and redemption, so that we might learn that, in the words of Mother Theresa, “prayer changes us, and we change things.”