Sunday, December 13, 2009

Third Sunday in Advent

LUKE 3: 10-18

DECEMBER 13, 2009

The spiritual journey is to discover who God made you to be, and then to live that out in your everyday life. When you are able to do this you will become "Good News" for those attracted to you. People will be attracted to you because you will exhibit a certain comfort and peace within yourself no matter the difficulty of life. John the Baptist has come to live in the desert. It is where he is supposed to be. It is here in his desert lifestyle that he hears and proclaims the word of God. Though he is in a remote and difficult place, people come out to hear him. Why do they come? Why do they hear Good News?

John does not yell at them. He does not judge them. He does not tell them that they are terrible people who will burn because of their lifestyle. Because John is comfortable in his own skin, he can hear God's word clearly and not interpret it through John's own tortured, angry and judgmental life. He speaks in moderation when the people trust to ask, "What are we to do?" To the general populace, he says that if you have more then you need, share some with those who are in want. John does not rant about consumerism or the hoarding of things in an attempt to make one happy. He gives people a simple suggestion that can be accomplished without having to change their whole lifestyle.

Tax officials, judged evil by the general populace, feel comfortable around John. To their question, "What are we to do?" he tells them not to cheat people. He does not say that tax collectors are evil and need to stop their means of livelihood. He gives them a suggestion of what could be done that will really effect their lives for the better. To the soldiers, some of whom are pagans, infidels, John again does not tell them they have to stop being soldiers or even change their belief system. He gives them something that they can begin to do now without too much trouble. He tells them to accept their wages and don't try to threaten the people with a lance to extort more income from them.

People hear Good News. Through John, they hear God saying that they can begin to grow in the spiritual life with some simple adjustments. They hear something that is possible to do. They do not hear judgment. They are not told to completely change their lives. Nobody seems to go away sad. If John's audience can each put into practice his suggestions, then the world will be a better place and the kingdom will be made more visible in our midst.

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