19 December 2015

Saturday, 19 December 2015
The third week of Advent

Special thanks to our friend Brad Farris for reading the scripture.

The Lord be with you…
…and with your spirit
Lift up your hearts…
…We lift them up to the Lord
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God
… It is right and just

Lk 3:7-16
John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”  “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.  John answered, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.”  Tax collectors also came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”  “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.  Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely–be content with your pay.” The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ.  John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

John’s message of voluntary social redistribution cuts against the grain of our American culture. He seems to want more than just detached generosity. Rather than simply give money to a food pantry, John would encourage us to go cook and serve at the soup kitchen. This year, instead of donating all the clothes that we haven’t worn in the past year, how about donating your favorite clothes to people who don’t have any? That is what John wanted. He wanted to baptize people who were going to change on the inside.

 

The Lord be with you…
…and with your spirit
May Almighty God Bless you, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Amen
Go in peace
thanks be to God

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