Frolics - November 17th 2019
From time to time two border terriers come to stay with us for a day or a week or so. The thin younger one can think of nothing better than going outside and chase anything that moves. The rounder older one just wants a peaceful life and would be quite happy just to stay indoors mooching around. But the younger one won’t always let her. She goads her into a chase and before long they are running frantically in circles all round the room. And even the older one seems to think a good frolic wasn’t that bad after all.
Is frolicking mentioned in the Bible? As you will see below it is, and in an unexpected way. Malachi was the last of the prophets in the Old Testament. People were asking how come wicked people do all right and good people don’t. Malachi told them there would be a day of the Lord when God’s justice would be re-established. It sounds like a fiery day of judgement. But then for some, it will be like a new birth. Like well-fed newborn calves they will go out and frolic.
I have never actually associated calves with frolicking. Your average cow is heavy. Jerseys come in at 1000 lbs and Holsteins at 1500 lbs, so they are not exactly built for frolicking. But apparently their calves are. I saw a video of some being let out of the barn and onto the field and they leapt, ran and scampered with sheer delight.
400 years after Malachi a child was born in Bethlehem. In a way judgement was indeed passed on King Herod. For others, like shepherds and wise men, there was an acute sense that the day of the Lord had at last arrived. And in a good way! They felt full of hope, and that a new day had arrived for them. 400 hundred years of waiting for a prophecy to come true - and then never quite as you had imagined it!
Legend has it that there was an ox in the stable that day. Sadly the Bible does not record whether it frolicked or not. I wouldn’t have been surprised it it did.
"Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.
Lord, as Advent draws nearer and the lights and expectations of Christmas time ramp up, give us a real sense of what a new day for us would mean. Amen.