Sisters and brothers,
the Word of God, made flesh in Mary’s womb,
will come forth to heal us
and make all things new.
Let us pray:
Save us, coming God,
from relying on our goodness;
but as we trust in your word,
and turn from sin,
may the fire of the Spirit
blaze among us;in Christ’s name. Amen.
Things John the Baptist would never say:
‘I’m ok, you’re ok.’
‘Of course, I could be wrong…’
No, really, you’re fine as you are.’
’Tact and negotiation. They’re what get things done.’
‘Yes, it’s a cheeky little merlot and I think you’d be amused by its impertinence…’
What did John the Baptist say? ‘You brood of vipers!…’ I’ve always wanted to start a sermon like that, but at theological college they teach you not to. For some reason.
Today is the Third Sunday in Advent. The season of Advent is about waiting, and preparing, for the coming of Jesus Christ. Actually, Advent is about three comings:
Advent is about the first coming of Jesus at Bethlehem, his birth, the celebration of Christmas, when the eternal Word was made human flesh.
But Advent is about far more than this. We can’t forget that Jesus comes now, in Word and Sacrament, as we meet Sunday by Sunday. He is in the midst wherever two or three gather in his name. He is here—here in his Body, the Church, in his Word and in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
And Advent speaks of the final coming of Jesus, his return to bring about the Reign of God in all its fullness.
Some of our Communion prayers put it this way:
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.
Or, Jesus came 2000 years ago, the Son of Mary. Jesus comes among us Sunday by Sunday, and day by day. Jesus will come again as Lord of all. And we wait.
But you know, there’s waiting and there’s waiting. How are we waiting? Are we hanging around, loitering, wasting time? That’s one way of waiting.
Or are we waiting by looking forward, anticipating, yearning for the coming of God’s justice and God’s peace, are we ready for Christ as he comes?
This is what it’s about. How are we waiting? Are we lounging about, or are we thirsting for the shalom of God, the peace of God to come in all its fullness? One and only one of these ways of waiting leads to life.
Today’s readings suggest two essential things that should mark our lives as we wait expectantly for Jesus. One is to learn to live well while we wait. The other is to live with joy while we wait.