Friday, December 5, 2008

Mark 1:4

"John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins." -Mark 1:4

A baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. What? Sin, forgiveness, repentance; why do these things come out in our Advent Bible reading? I mean, isn't December all about dreams of gum drops and mistletoe? Why must we put up with John the Baptist every year? Couldn't we just push him to the side like so much religious cobwebery? I mean, really; John is such a bummer, such a Scrooge, he just doesn't seem to fit in with our Martha Stewart or Norman Rockell Christmas preparations, does he?

Of course, I'm being a little silly, where would we be without John preparing the way for Jesus? After all, compared to the image of John in his questionable wardrobe and exotic diet, Jesus sounds so ... welcoming.

John's role in our unfolding Advent adventure points us to the need for a Savior; in some ways John is sort of like our twenty-four hour news-cycle: pointing out our failures, our misadventures, our shortsightedness, our missing the point on both a local and global scale. John is like so much bad news breaking over the airwaves and across our computer screens. But like two-thousand years ago we have an opportunity to respond today, just as the "whole Judean countryside" did in John's day. We too, whether personally or nationally can admit to how we have fallen short and how we need forgiveness and most especially how we indeed need a Savior: not from Wall Street or Washington D.C., but from a Servant King who shows us the way to live in this life and the next.

Gracious and Forgiving God, grant us the ability to admit not only our individual shortcomings but the misadventures of the great land in which we live. As we face dismal financial reports and challenging global issues help us face the truth that only you are perfect and we have a lot to learn. May we, in these weeks before we celebrate the wonder of the Nativity, find time to humble ourselves before you and seek the forgiveness only you can grant. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. Good point! How refreshing it would be to be able to acknowledge our country's missteps - without being labeled "unpatriotic- in order to turn toward a better way of doing things! Same too in our personal lives.