Call Me Jonah

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God has a way of getting what God wants. Ask Moses. Better yet, ask Jonah. Jonah did everything he could think of to avoid doing as God asked him to do. What did he get for his efforts? He became whale puke. He then had to go and do what God asked him to do anyway, whale slime and all. I have a lot of affinity for both Moses and Jonah. For Moses because he argued with God, saying “no” five times before becoming the reluctant leader of God’s people. For Jonah because he just didn’t want to do what God was asking of him and went through all kinds of stuff before doing exactly what God asked of him to begin with. I have a tendency to respond to God in this fashion.

If I’m honest, I first felt called to ministry at age 10. I felt it again at 14, and again 19, and accepted it at 24. That call has been challenged many times in the intervening decades. I’ve argued with God. I’ve said “no” to God. Others have denied my ability to be in ministry for a variety of reasons. Yet, God always finds a way to make it happen. God’s ways are often surprising and unexpected. We also have a remarkable way of disrupting God’s plans, thinking ours are better. None of these things place us outside of God’s reach. Just ask Jonah. In the depths of the sea, in the belly of a whale, God still called Jonah. There is nowhere so deep, so filled with denial, that God cannot reach in and pull us out again. I suspect God would rather not have to work so hard. There are easier ways to serve God than becoming whale puke in the process.

Peter, James, and John were smart. They followed Jesus pretty quickly. Maybe they thought becoming Jesus’ disciples would be easier than working Zebedee’s fishing nets. They would smell better for sure. I like to think that they were young and impulsive and had no idea the enormity of what they were agreeing to when they left their nets that day. They went along, though. And they got really good at being disciples. We know they gained skills and insight because we’re here now. We also know that they weren’t perfect human beings; they were ordinary people like you and me. God saw potential in them and called them to a life that would use their gifts, gifts none of them knew they had when Jesus first walked into their lives.

We are all filled with potential. I was lucky in that teachers and professors saw all kinds of potential in me. I was luckier still that God called me and I heard it, however reluctantly. We all have gifts that we are called to use. It’s just a question of how graciously we will follow. You already know that I tend to fall into the school of Moses and Jonah – the reluctant disciple/prophet types. I’ve always wanted to be more like Peter, James, and John and drop everything to go where Jesus calls. It’s just not in my nature. I’ve never been very impulsive or trusting that what I hear God calling me to really is what God is calling me to. I’ve trudged through the wilderness and I’ve seen the inside of some whales. I’ve responded to God’s call and sometimes made a mess. I’ve run from God’s call and tried to hide. But God always has a way of getting what God wants, leading us to where God would like us to be, awakening the gifts dormant inside of us.

There’s nothing to be afraid of when it comes right down to it. God wants a future filled with hope and good things for all of us. Yes, it’s not always easy getting there. Sometimes our efforts to use our gifts leave us wandering in the wilderness for a long while or huddling in the belly of a whale wondering what could possibly come next. On the other hand, God calls us each by name and invites us to follow. No matter what happens after that, God does not leave us alone. Whether we are like Moses and Jonah or Peter, James, and John, God is delighted when we claim the gifts that we’ve been given and use them to bring a bit more hope, love, and healing, into the world. If you are a skeptical, reluctant disciple or an impulsive, enthusiastic one, it’s time to get moving. Turn on your GPS if you’re wandering in the wilderness. Take a shower if you’re covered in whale puke. God needs all of us to get busy because the realm of God is at hand. If you and I don’t share this good news with all that we say and do, then who will?

RCL – Year B – Third Sunday after Epiphany – January 21, 2018
Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Psalm 62:5-12
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20

Photo: CC0 image by Dimitris Vetsikas

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The Place Where God Lives

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What would it be like if we all just stopped for a moment and took a deep breath? What if we took that breath and imagined we were breathing in the very breath of God, and then exhaled everything in us that rejects God’s ways? Maybe we should breathe in and out a few more times… How many breaths does it take before we feel calmer, perhaps more hopeful? How many breaths does it take before fear, anxiety, and stress lessen? There are days when I wish everyone in the world would just take a deep breath, come into God’s presence, and relax for a few minutes.

Okay. So maybe I’m projecting. I’m just another pastor who has come through a very busy holiday season and I’m a bit drained. Sure. There’s that, but this Advent and Christmas was not like any I’ve experienced. All those promises of Advent – hope, peace, joy, and love – seemed a bit more distant and harder to bring into reality than in years past. And those of us who made it to the manger to honor the Christ-child were more worn out from the journey than in previous years. The need for the Magi to show up and remind us just who Jesus is, was stronger this year and, yet, so many of us remain unable to respond. In the face of all that is happening in the world, Christmas was a bit of a stretch for many of us. And now it feels like it was eons ago.

We live in a world not unlike Samuel’s where the word of the Lord is rare and visions are not widespread. I suspect God is still calling in the night though our ability to hear is significantly impaired. When fear and anxiety weigh heavily on us, who can hear God calling us out of sleepiness into a life of love and service? If we are able to take a few minutes to breathe, then maybe we will have the courage to listen for God’s voice and the trust needed to follow Samuel’s example.

Unfortunately, I think the problem lies deeper than our need for spiritual hearing aids. It has more to do with our reluctance to believe as the psalmist did – that God is with us wherever we are and God’s claim on us does not change in the depths of Sheol or at the farthest limits of the ocean. God is with us at the rise of the sun and in the absence of the moon. God is with us no matter what we think of ourselves. God made us – fearfully and wonderfully. The psalmist knew this in the center of his being. I’m not sure that we do. We put so much between us and God, that it’s hard to believe that God’s love permeates every aspect of who we are. Our inability to recognize it does not change the truth. Is it possible to breathe deeply enough to re-center ourselves in God’s unchangeable love for us?

As if to affirm this need to be spiritually and physically anchored in God’s love for us, Paul reminds us that our bodies are not our own. They are on loan from God and they are temples of the Holy Spirit. Let’s take a moment to breathe in this truth. Think of all the things we do with our bodies, to our bodies, that honor no one. The Holy Spirit dwells in us, no matter what we do to our bodies. Surely, we can be more careful with these temples of ours. And if we can be more careful with our own, can we recognize the sacred temples of our neighbors’ bodies? Still breathing?

Well, let’s keep at it because we are invited to do great things. Yes, Jesus did great things and people marveled. While it’s easy to forget that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, it’s even easier to forget that we are the embodiment of Christ. As such, we are to be doing great things. Maybe not opening the heavens so that angels can come and go, but making manifest the realm of God. This is our job and it requires deep breathing for sure. Every time we give into the fear and hatred that those in power sow among us, we are failing to embody Christ. Any time we respond to fear-mongering, racism, xenophobia, and the other hateful traits of the current administration, we are betraying the one who calls us by name in the deepest hour of the night.

During this season of Epiphany, may we all come to know God’s presence anew. May we breathe deeply and remember whose we are and what we are created to do. God has not stopped calling us. Visions are not as rare as we think they are; have you not heard the prophets calling us to peace and justice for all people? God is present with us always and everywhere (even if we forget or deny it). Our bodies are sacred temples on loan to us. The Holy Spirit would like a bit more comfort in her temples and she’d rather we not desecrate any bodies in which she dwells. God is waiting for us to do great things. May we have the tenacity (or is that audacity?) and courage to take a deep breath and echo Samuel’s words, “Here I am.”

RCL – Year B – Second Sunday after Epiphany – January 14, 2018
1 Samuel 3:1-10 [11-20]
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
John 1:43-51

Photo: CC0 image by Gerd Altmann

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Three Magi and the Baptist

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All those proclamations bubbling with hope during Advent start to fizzle out by the time the magi arrive. And fall even flatter with John the Baptist’s cry for repentance. With the heightened anxiety created by the current Administration and its recent Tweets, the light of the star fades and the voice heard at Jesus’ baptism is little more than a whisper. Hope for 2018 to be a year of positive change is fragile, if not entirely elusive.

It’s hard to continuously call the people of God to embody Hope and Love when frustration and anger surge through me every time I look at the news of the world. Some days being pastoral in a community (city, country) nearly consumed with its own anxiety feels impossible. I have sympathy for the Baptist. The chaos and meanness of Herod’s rule pressed down on an already oppressed people. Too many were acting as if nothing was amiss, and too many more lived in a state of chronic hopelessness. Then, of course, there were those who supported Herod and benefited from his lavish, self-centered reign. None of this glorified God in anyway. Hence the call for repentance.

Years before, Herod’s selfishness was already made known. He was willing to have innocents slaughtered just to ensure that he remained in power. The magi recognized the tyrant for what he was, and went home by an alternate route to avoid revealing Jesus’ location to Herod. They, however, persisted in pursuing the star until they found the child for whom they had journeyed so far. They were rewarded for their efforts with an overwhelming joy. Imagine being so persistent in our search for the Holy One that we become overwhelmed with joy in spite of whatever the precarious political situation.

As if to remind us of that overwhelming joy, the voice of God echoing through Jesus’ baptism speaks a powerful truth. Jesus is God’s Beloved and we would do well listen up. We, too, are God’s Beloved and we are called to incarnate Love just as Jesus did. How did Jesus respond to Herod and the Temple Authorities, with an outrageous, truth-telling love. Mostly, Jesus didn’t deal with them. He focused his attention on empowering people, building community, and modeling the way of compassion. He tried so hard to get people to see that the Kingdom of God is built with love, not the romantic, feel-good kind of love. That kind of love won’t bring liberation to the captives or set prisoners free. Jesus demonstrated the hard, enduring agape kind of love. This love reveals the presence of God in the here and now. It also fills those who embody it with overwhelming joy in spite of the Herod’s and Temple Authorities who thrive on fear, hatred, and oppression.

We have just walked away from the manger that held the newborn Christ. We will soon witness the magi bring gifts to honor the child and have their arduous journey rewarded with Joy. We will soon see the heavens open and dove descend as God claims Jesus as God’s own Beloved. We are not meant to be passive witnesses. Our knees should ache a bit from kneeling at the manger, desperately searching for the Hope needed to continue on. Our feet should ache with the steps of the journey it took to follow the star. Our hands should feel the weight of gifts carried and given to glorify Emanuel. And our souls should feel that same joy overwhelming us. Our ears should ring with the call to repent. And just when we think we can bear no more, awe should stop us in our tracks as the heavens open and a Voice speaks saving words. All this, and all that will follow, is meant to prepare us to build the Realm of God right now.

No more excuses. No more normalizing or dismissing of the anxiety, fear, and oppression meant to silence and separate the people of God. There will always be another Herod waiting for his opportunity to rule over a people blinded by fear. There will always be Temple Authorities who corrupt God’s ways to further their own agenda and line their pockets with ill-gotten gold. If we have learned anything from the journey to Bethlehem, the impending arrival of Magi, and the Voice that claims us all as Beloved, then we can remain silent no longer. Let us all take up the way of Love, the hard, godly kind, and embody the Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love promised throughout the Advent season. Let’s shine with the nearly unbearable Light until the Herods are overthrown, the captives are liberated, and the Body of Christ becomes known for its transforming Love. Now that would be an Epiphany!

RCL – Year B – Epiphany or First Sunday after Epiphany – January 7, 2018
Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2:1-12
or
Genesis 1:1-5
Psalm 29
Acts 19:1-7
Mark 1:4-11

Photo: CC0 image by Hans Braxmeier

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A Song of Praise

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If your house is anything like mine, there are remnants of Christmas everywhere. There’s the tree with a string of lights not quite working. There’s a box of wrapping paper and cardboard waiting to go out to the recycle bin. There’s a not-so-tidy stack of decorations that never made it to the tree. The new gifts sitting out because they haven’t found a place yet. Oh, and the kitchen, well, it’s the kitchen after a flurry of baking and candy making… It’s obvious that something happened here, it’s just not clear what that something was.

It’s just not clear what that something was. For many people, the day after Christmas is the day to put everything away, tidy things up for the new year. In the stores all the Christmas goods are on the clearance shelves and Valentine’s Day products have taken the prime spots. It’s hard to keep up when retail jumps from one holiday to the next without stopping in between. Church is different, though, isn’t it.

The Advent wreath is fully lit as the paraments change to white. Concerts and carols fill the week. How do we keep going with Christmas while the world moves on? How do we linger at the manger, under the star long enough to find some meaning in the annual remembrance of Jesus’ birth?

Isaiah, the Psalmist, Simeon, Paul all provide a clue to meaning making. They all point toward praise. Praising God in the midst of the chaos and the ordinary opens us to the truth of what happened under that star so long ago. Too many people say that they cannot praise God while refugees wander without a home, while people freeze to death for lack of shelter, while children remain hungry, while hatred runs free in our streets, and on down the list of social ills. Perhaps this is part of the reason for everything feeling overwhelming or out of control; we have forgotten how to sing God’s praises every day.

No matter what is happening in the world, God is still God. God created the world. God so loves the world. God became flesh and lived among us. God reveals the way of Love. If the world is overwhelmed with hatred and poverty and fear, it is not God’s doing. God is still God in the midst of the mess we have created. God was God on that first Christmas when Jesus took his first breath. God was God on that first Good Friday when Jesus took his last breath. God was God on that first Easter morning when Christ emerged from death. God is God, even now, when we live in fear, when we struggle for health and wholeness, when Pharaoh and Babylon are on the rise again, when we forget that nothing can extinguish Love. God is still God. God waits for us to recognize God’s presence here and now. God is waiting for us to sing praises to God even when we don’t feel like it.

There is plenty to sing about, really. God loves humanity collectively and individually, even when we don’t seek out God’s ways, even when our sin has lasting effects. Praising God for the goodness of creation should come naturally to our lips. Praising God for God’s amazing love for humanity should be as natural as breathing. We have forgotten to step back and look beyond our own lives, beyond this moment in time, beyond the remnants of this Christmas. We have forgotten to listen to the stories of those who have gone before us. We have forgotten to come before God in awe and gratitude for the gift of life and Love. Perhaps we have forgotten how truly loved we are. If we remember, we can change the world. If we remember, we will become known for our songs of praise.
Spend some time in these days of Christmastide under the light of the star that still shines, surrounded by the remnants of the day, and remember. Remember the days of old that enable the prophets and poets to sing praises to God. Remember the beauty and wonder of creation. Remember those who have shared faith with you. But most importantly, remember that Christmas is all about Love breaking into the world in a whole new way so that we will not forget that we are God’s beloved. That’s what happened in that stable so long ago. That’s what happened just a few days ago.

May we all become songs of praise to the One whose Love continues to reach for us, even now.

If you’re looking for more sermon help, try here.

RCL – Year B – First Sunday after Christmas – December 31, 2017
Isaiah 61:10-62:3
Psalm 148
Galatians 4:4-7
Luke 2:22-40

Photo: CC0 image by anja

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Bidding Prayer for Christmas Eve

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On this holy night when we remember Jesus’ birth, let us pray for all the children of the earth, and those who parent them.
People may quietly or silently voice their prayers
God who claims us all as beloved children, as we remember the birth of Jesus, we pray for all the children of the world – those near to us and those far away. We pray for parents who do their best to raise their children without the resources they need. We pray for those who have no children of their own and still reach out to children in need of love. Grant us the imagination and the courage to create a world in which all children have food, shelter, and care. Let us make room at the manger for all who come seeking Love.
God who is Love,
Hear our prayers.

As we remember Mary and Joseph, and their long journey to Bethlehem, let us pray for all those who are far from home, for those in need of a home, and those who are lost.
People may quietly or silently voice their prayers
God who so loves the world, may the light we celebrate tonight, enlighten us always. May we see you in the face of the stranger, the refugee, the immigrant, the homeless, and the lost. As we think of the crowded in of Bethlehem and those words of “no room,” stir within us. Gift us with your vision of a world in which there is room for all, and no one is turned away. May our journey to this night, have meaning beyond this moment.
God who is Love,
Hear our prayers.

As we remember the angels who spread your Good News of peace on earth for all, let us pray for all those who worship tonight.
People may quietly or silently voice their prayers
God who yearns for peace on earth, we lift our voices with countless others in praise to you this night. We celebrate the ways in which you continue to break into the world and reveal your holy ways to us. Shape us into the church that is needed today so that we may truly embody you. May everyone who calls on your name, speak words of peace and work for justice until the day when all live in Love.
God who is Love,
Hear our prayers.

As we remember the shepherds who responded to the angel’s call, let us pray for all people who respond to your call by working to bring the light of justice the world.
People may quietly or silently voice their prayers
God of grace and mercy, we see brokenness and suffering all around us. As we celebrate your amazing love, may we see with your eyes and work with your hands. It is not enough for us to witness suffering and oppression. What would the story be like if something prevented others from noticing the birth in the stable so long ago? We have done so much in this world that interferes with your love for the whole of humanity. So for those who have the courage to cry out for justice, we give you thanks, and ask that you would guide our feet to your holy way.
God who is Love,
Hear our prayers.

As we remember the magi who journeyed far to bring gifts to the new born king, let us give thanks for gifts we have been given, even as we seek to share them with others.
People may quietly or silently voice their prayers
God who loves us beyond our ability to imagine, we give you thanks for the gifts you have given to us – those we know and those that are yet unknown. While we are tempted to think that these blessings are for us alone, we know that we are meant to share your abundance. As we remember this familiar story of your birth and all who came to the manger, may we be transformed by power of your light – your hope, peace, joy, and love – that we might go home by another road, a road that is widened by generosity and welcome of all whom we meet.
God who is Love,
Hear our prayers.

Photo: CC0 image by falco

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Be Like Mary

Mary didn’t mean much to me as a child. Of course, there was the coveted role of Mary in the annual Christmas Pageant. Even that was a big disappointment in seventh or eighth grade when it was my turn; there was no live baby Jesus that year. Someone grabbed a doll out of the church nursery and wrapped it in a receiving blanket without noticing that one eye no longer closed and it had turned a cloudy white with age and disuse. It wasn’t exactly the moment of devotion I had been hoping for. I spent my time trying not to make faces of disgust when I was supposed to be “pondering.”

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Outside of Christmas, no one ever said much about Mary and I didn’t think much of her, either. Then I took a youth ministries course during my ThM (Master of Theology), and Kenda Dean introduced me to a Mary in a paradigm-shifting sort of way. I think it was the first day of class when Kenda handed out diaper pins and told us we were all pregnant with the Holy Spirit, and it was our job to bring Christ in the world and step out of the way. In other words, to be like Mary, to bring Jesus into the world and get out of the way so that our story is Christ’s story.

Later in the semester Kenda talked more about Mary. She pointed out the obvious – Mary was a teenage, unwed mother who changed the world forever. The importance of this perspective to youth ministry cannot be understated. (You can read more about Kenda’s youth ministry approach in this book and elsewhere) It has also remained at the core of my ministry with other marginalized and overlooked folks. Someone the world dismisses as unimportant can bring Christ into the world in an extraordinary way. It happens all the time. We never know whom God has chosen in any given moment. Should we not be treating all people as theotokos, bearers of God?

More than 20 years later, I still have the diaper pin and I often think about Mary and her role in changing the world. She did something so brave and altruistic that world has literally never been the same. She was no body special. She was a girl betrothed to a carpenter. Her parents had, no doubt, arranged the best marriage they could. This engagement didn’t elevate Mary. It’s unlikely that she was different from anyone else in an observable way. Yet, through her, the impossible happened and God took on human form.

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If Mary could do such a thing, there’s hope for the rest of us. Because Mary did what she did, we know that God finds favor with all of us. We know that we are God’s beloved people. This is the essence of church, is it not? If we trust this and live out this concept that God has found favor with us, then it is on us, as church, to do as Mary did, to be theotokos. We are to bring Christ into the world, and step out of the way so that our story becomes Christ’s story.

This is why we make the journey to Bethlehem every year. We travel through the wild places full of chaos and joy to kneel before a babe in a manger. We kneel to remind ourselves that we are not God, that our ways or not God’s ways. If we have made the journey, we are aware of the Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love that is embodied in the Christ-child. As church, we are called to embody these same qualities, we are to bring Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love into the world and step back to let Christ’s story continue.

It’s easier said than done, of course. Let’s not forget this call as we return to the wild places. Let’s not get distracted by those with power and the illusions they create to maintain oppression. Let’s remember Mary beyond the Christmas story. May we all make her a model for Christian living – Bring Christ into the world and step out of the way. May the story we live in the coming year be a continuation of Christ’s story.

RCL – Year B – Fourth Sunday of Advent – December 24, 2017
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Luke 1:46-55 or Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38

Photos CC-BY-NC image by Rachael Keefe
The bottom photo is of a print that hangs in my office. If anyone knows who created this beautiful image, please let me know. The print is unsigned and was hanging on the wall when I arrived.

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Joy Awaits

 

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Isaiah and John the Baptist have a lot of company in the wilderness. Have you heard any of these voices crying out:  Tarana Burke, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, Malala Yousafzai, Krystal Two Bulls, William Barber, and countless other? We have not paid much heed to the prophets of yesterday. Will we listen to the voices of today’s prophets? The cry is ever the same.

Isaiah told us everything we need to know about responding to the cries in the wilderness. If we are to make way for God, create a holy highway for all God’s people to travel, the process is unmistakable. Bring good news to the oppressed. Not just words, words cost nothing and achieve very little. What do oppressed people want? Justice. It shouldn’t be that hard. Doug Jones shouldn’t have barely one the Senate seat in Alabama; he should have won by an overwhelming majority. But there is something in U.S. culture that resists listening to those wilderness voices and whatever it is has permeated our churches as well. If we are God’s people, then we are supposed to be creators of justice. We must be the good news oppressed people seek.

Bind up the broken-hearted. There really is no binding for a broken heart. We cannot undo death. However, we can stop killing people. We can stop allowing police officers to get away with murder. We can change our healthcare and mental health care systems so that illness does not result in death for those who live in poverty. We can admit to racism and white supremacy that permeates every system and institution in the U.S. If we are God’s people, then we are to be agents of healing. We must be the binding for the broken-hearted.

Proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners. Again, proclamation without action is meaningless. Until Congress passes a clean Dream Act, too many young people are at risk for deportation. The path to citizenship is ridiculously complicated and divides families. People risk their lives to enter this country without documentation, not because they are seeking something for free; they want a better life. Why is the U.S. response so often arrest, imprisonment, and deportation without regard for the well-being of individuals or families? Xenophobia flows through our streets and causes us to turn away immigrants and refugees, forgetting that most of our families were once one or the other. Forgetting that Jesus and his family were once refugees. If we are God’s people, then we are to be advocates for liberation and release. We must be the way to liberation and freedom for all God’s people.

Proclaim God’s favor and comfort all who mourn. Imagine a just world for all. This vision is the comfort for those who mourn now. For everyone who is dismissed and devalued by those with power, there is hope for a different future. In this future, all those marginalize voices will be re-membered, re-joined to communities of love and grace. Moreover, these will be our leaders, our strength. Only then will the breach be repaired. If we are God’s people, then we are to be creators of a new future. We must be the hope for those who mourn.

Isaiah goes on to describe the day when God’s people are liberated and filled with praise. Isn’t this what we, as church, want? We have fooled ourselves into thinking that faith is all about the individual. We want to know that we are “doing it right” and feel comfortable in our sense of righteousness. However, the prophets, old and new, aren’t speaking to individuals. Isaiah spoke to the nation of Israel while it was divided and held captive by Babylon. The words about good news and liberty were not empty. They were followed by action.

Today’s prophets speak to a nation divided and held captive by a Babylon we created. Our liberation and re-membering will only happen when we stop thinking only about ourselves and start thinking about our neighbors. You may not be affected by the current tax bill, but is your neighbor? You may have access to excellent education, does your neighbor? You may be able to choose your doctor and get the best healthcare, can your neighbor do the same? There may be enough food in your pantry, how about your neighbor’s?

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Sunday is the third Sunday in Advent. The Sunday of Joy, the Sunday when we turn from active waiting to joyful anticipation of Christ’s arrival. The joy faith seeks holds hands with justice. It will remain fleeting in our lives as long as we think faith is personal and private. (Ask Mary about what it means to live a public faith and realize that faith leads us to serve others and how joy fits into that.) When we risk living our faith out in the world, we draw closer to the joy of life in the Spirit. When we pause to listen to the prophets, hear their cries to prepare the way of the Lord, joy might begin to take up residence in our communities once again.

Christ is waiting to enter into all the broken places in our lives, in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our churches, in our nation, and in our world. The prophets are crying out, telling us what is needed to prepare the way. Isn’t it time we move toward Joy?

RCL – Year B – Third Sunday in Advent – December 17, 2017
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Psalm 126 or Luke 1:46-55
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

Photos CC-BY-NC image by Rachael Keefe

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