Saturday, December 15, 2012

Advent XIV

Whenever God acts, He certainly does so in a radical and decisive way.  Putting the birth of Jesus into such a context underscores this truth.  In a manner totally inconceivable to any of us, God acted placing Himself through His Son in a manger where adoring parents were little more than peasants who would soon become political refugees.  He lived among us owning nothing except his clothing and died as a criminal guilty of terrible crimes.  It is not the story any of us would have written had our assignment been to write one about the way God loves us.
One of the things made clear by John the Baptist is that those who follow Jesus must do so with a similar radical spirit.  Baptism in the Jordan was not something which one could be "wishy-washy" about.  Going into the water for a ritual of cleansing reserved only for Gentiles was the thing John's preaching required.  Standing at the edge of the river with toes in the water was not enough.  One either went into the water or chose to stay dry.  The same kind of spirit was necessary in acting on the message of repentance.  It is impossible to walk two ways at the same time.  One way has to be forsaken and another chosen.  From the beginning John makes it clear that decisive and radical action is required of those who would follow Jesus.

Unfortunately, the words radical and decisive no longer seem relevant to those of us who would be Jesus followers.  We are the masters of compromise and living in the gray.  Blending with the culture around us is preferable to standing out as different while living in the midst of it.  Advent is calling us to walk another way.  It is calling us to walk the uncomfortable way.  It is calling us to be decisive and for God's sake to be a radical believer.

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