We have grown so accustomed to modern conveniences that we tend to forget how dramatically they have changed our lives.  Some of you can remember when doing the family wash was an all-day job.  Ani if the weather was bad, it might carry over into the next day.  Now, most people put a load of clothes in the automatic washer, push a button, and the machine does the rest.  When the wash cycle is complete, they transfer the clothes to the automatic dryer, push another button, and in short order with minimum effort, the job is done.  That, of course, makes it sound easier than it actually is; but nevertheless, it’s a far cry from the black pot in the backyard with the water heated over a wood fire.

It is a fashionable thing to criticize this world of automation that science has given us.   But no many, if any, would be willing to go back to the old days and the old ways.  Most of us prefer driving cars to riding horses and had rather talk on the telephone than send a letter by Pony Express.  Surely, we can find it in our hearts to be grateful for the many conveniences that scientific technology has placed within our reach.

But this being said, I still must concede that there is at least one area in which our push-button mentality causes some concern.  That is the realm of religious faith.  Since we can have instant light, instant heating and cooling, instant information, instant music all of these at the flip of a switch, we might suppose that we can have God on the same terms.

We seem to think that God is, or at least should be, at our beck and call.  We talk about a faith that really works, and by that we mean a faith that will get us all of the things we want.  We look for techniques that will enable us to control divine power for a selfish purpose.

That is a far cry from the faith that is pictured on the pages of the Bible.  Some things cannot be accomplished by the mere push of a button.  Our faith is one of those things.  Faith at its best is a relationship with the living God, and the building of any relations takes time.   If your best friend is someone you met just yesterday, then yours must be a sadly shallow life.  We do not think of each other in such superficial terms.  Why should we think of God that way?

If we are to have a meaningful relationship with God, it will not happen overnight.  It can begin in a    moment, in the twinkling of an eye; but if it even becomes a real friendship, it will take time and attention.  There are no short cuts.  You must prepare the ground.  You must build a highway of prayer and worship, keep it open, and use it often.

God will not be treated as a cosmic bellboy, just call Him up whenever you want Him.  We must prepare for His coming into our lives in a deeper way.  We must decide our priorities.  In our reading, in our thinking, in our use of time and money, in our dealings with people, we can “Make ready the way of the Lord.”  This is the challenge of 2023.