Dec 8, 2019
Second Sunday of Advent
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.'”
Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Something to Do
And his food was locusts and wild honey
Locusts are hard to come by but crickets are becoming an increasingly common sight in grocery stores…
Have a John the Baptist inspired snack of crickets and honey (or perhaps dipped in chocolate?)
Bear fruit worthy of repentance
John the Baptist reminds us that repentance is not just about words – it’s about behaviour that bears fruit. We are called to take concrete steps as we turn towards God and live into our baptismal identity as members of the Body of Christ.
Bear fruit this week, fruit that reflects your true identity.
Something to Wonder
He will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.
Chaff is the unnecessary stuff that must be disposed of in order to access the good wheat.
What is the chaff that you need burned away to prepare for the coming of Jesus and make the wheat available?
In those days, John the Baptist appeared
Who is John the Baptist in our day?
Whose voice is calling out to us from the desert?
Are we prepared to listen?
Something to Learn
John the Baptist – the back story
The Gospel according to Luke tells the story of John the Baptist’s origins, all mixed up the story of the birth of Jesus himself. Read it for yourself in Luke, Chapter 1
John the Baptist – a member of the Essenes?
It has been speculated that John the Baptist was a member of the Essenes, a Jewish sect active at the time of Jesus and possibly influential in the development of Christianity.
A Portrait of Jesus’ World – The Essenes and the Dead Sea Scrolls is a summary provided on PBS’ Frontline.
Jesus and the Essenes: An Esoteric History is a more scholarly but still accessible article by Dr. Simon Joseph, a lecturer in Early Christianity at UCLA
Something to Pray
Holy God, we do not always understand your word or your ways.
Give us wisdom and imagination and courage as we learn and grow.
The story this week has made me wonder about…
(what questions are still on your heart?)
Receive my questions and help me hear your answers.
The story this week has filled me with…
(how are you feeling?)
Accept my praise, heal my hurt, ease my worry.
The story this week has reminded me of…
(are there situations or people you are thinking of?)
Be with all who are in need of you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.