December 11, 2006
Advent Sunday 2
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene—during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
“A voice of one calling in the desert,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.
And all mankind will see God’s salvation.’”
—Luke 3:1-6, NIV
Advent brings both a sense of hope and hopelessness. There exists this extraordinary hope that God is making himself local, so that he may be received universal. The hope of preparation marks this time, that the child of God will soon be here. Christ is coming. At the same time I find a deep sense of hopelessness. How can we prepare for the arrival of such a thing. I think when we live out a dualistic spirituality, focusing solely on the hope of heaven, and the coming deliverance of God than we lose this hopelessness. When we are living with the world, suffering and seeing suffering, fighting and causing injustice than we have to ask ourselves, how do we prepare this place for God? It seems a bit hopeless, but then again God still came, didn't he?