December 14, 2014 – A View from the Rectory Window

This week we meet, or rather, are confronted by John the Baptist who looms large on the horizon during Advent. Why John? Isn’t this after the birth of Christ? Why would we read this before Christmas?

John’s ministry was to prepare the way for Christ, which is what we are doing during Advent. You may remember a beautiful story of the baby who leapt for joy…

Well, this baby grew up… now he is this very odd man. He lives in a cave. He eats locusts dipped in honey, he wears a scratchy goat’s hair shirt, and preaches in the middle of nowhere. He was not married (which may explain his eating, dressing, and housing habits).

John the Baptist is the one who shouts “WAKE UP!” He is the last prophet of the Law. The law is anything that shows us that our world is distorted and fallen from what it was created to be.

Why do we need to hear Law? Church Father Chrysostom says, “You don’t know to repent unless you know that you are off the mark.” Kind of similar to how we sometimes aren’t aware we are sick until the doctor explains the test results.

John’s message was: “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand… Prepare the way of the Lord . . . Bear the fruit of repentance . . .”

Few voices today are like John the Baptist’s. Yes, we hear many cries to “repent” but so often they are aimed at the others: If those liberals would just repent . . . If those extreme fundamentalists would repent. . . If those nominal Christians would just repent . . . If those atheistic materialist secularists would just repent . . . If those self-righteous people would just repent . . . If those other people in my family and in my church would repent . . .

But what about us? Have we truly repented if we are still waiting for others to repent?

As John was announcing, there is one coming, Jesus was about to step on the scene in John the Baptist’s day. This weekend in John’s words, we are reminded that this process is not over. For we know, that He will again step on the scene at the end of this age. John the Baptist was helping people realize that they needed a Lamb from God to take away their sin, with its guilt and shame. They needed Jesus.

What about us?

Father Pete