As another year, the year of our Lord 1968, draws to a close, we look at ourselves in retrospect. What do we see? We see tiny babes, little rebels, putting all their disobedient strength against mothers’ will, until even the task of diaper changing becomes difficult. We see small children, when confronted by some misdemeanor, immediately jump on the defensive with the excuse it is brother’s or sister’s, playmate’s or teacher’s fault. We see you, young people, when instructed to do some task, rebel and go your own sweet way, so that as parents we have to demand of you, obedience. Then each one of you thinks he is getting the worst end of the deal, and obeys grudgingly, saying that brother or sister or friend has it better than you do. We see you, young people, Protestant Reformed young people, singing the songs of Edom, wearing the dress and fashions of this world, your closets bursting with clothes, until we as parents are hard pressed to provide, not the needs, but the desires and demands of our young people.
And what do you see in us, young people? You see adults tearing at each other’s throats, murdering one another with our tongues, destroying the name of a brother, seeing the mote in the brother’s eye and not the beam in our own. You see us seeking after pleasures even as you do, so that there is little time for the study and meditation of the Word of God. You see us often forgetting to pray or saying merely words; and also like you desiring the latest fashions of this world, until we no longer act or look like the people of God. And you are confused. We have provoked you to anger in that we demand of you obedience to the law of God, and you do not see in us that all-consuming love of God. Our own walk is so often not in harmony with our confession.
On Sunday, we sit in the House of God and we hear the powerful, efficacious Word of God calling us to repentance. And the truth of the Word of God grips our heart. God shows us the wretchedness, the horribleness of our sins, until we cry out, “God be merciful to me, the sinner.” We see ourselves as a people who have gone astray, who have turned every-one to his own way. We see ourselves as a people who have caused the Name of our God to be mocked because our confession and our life are not consistent. It is only then, when our prayer becomes a heart-cry and is no longer just mere idle words, that God sends the peace, the blessed peace of forgiveness. It is only then when we see ourselves as the sinner that we fall upon our faces and cry to our Father for mercy. It is only then that He heals the broken heart, only then that He reveals to us His marvelous grace, His tender mercies, His loving-kindness. Then we can confess our sins to our God and to our brother, and we have the wonderful blessed fellowship of the saints, and the peace that passeth all understanding. The love of God in Christ Jesus will then be made manifest in our lives and our churches once more will become a light that shineth in darkness, a city that is set on a hill that giveth light to all that are without. The Name of our God will be magnified. Let us then, as this year draws to a close, see our own beam of sin, and let us as little children, young people, fathers and mothers, laymen and ministers, cry out to our God that he may fill our hearts with His consuming love, that we may live, not as the world liveth, but indeed as the people of God, strangers and pilgrims here below, looking for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Then we will have the testimony of the people of God that we are one of them and the Name of our God will be glorified in us and through us. Praise His Name. Hallelujah!