Joel 2: 1-2, 12-17
Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand–a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come.
“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
“Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing–grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God.
Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gatter the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. Let the priests, who minister before the Lord, weep between the temple porch and the alter. Let them say, “Spare your people, O Lord. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’ ”
Joel gives warning to blow the trumpet! There are several possible warnings Joel could be sending–an invasion of an army threating Judah, a plague of locust invading, the Day of the Lord when Christ will return, or possibly all of the above. In any event, God is sending a warning for all of us to return to Him with fasting, weeping and morning. God wants us to come to Him in humble repentance and prayer with brokenness of heart, not just with an outward show. We, as the Church of today, need to return to God will our whole heart, to cry out in mercy, focused on being the light of Christ to enable others to know his love, grace, and mercy. Are you willing to fast, weep, mourn, and pray for this generation?
Father forgive us for not loving you with our whole heart, for failing to be an obedient church. Help us to do your will, to love you, to love our neighbors, and hear the cry of the needy. Help us to fast, weep, and mourn for others and ourselves. Come, Holy Spirit, free us for joyful obedience through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.