What then should we do?

Luke 3:7-18 NRSV

May the joy of the LORD be with you this morning! We enjoy inviting greetings.  However, John the Baptist uses a different approach.  He is in the company of a crowd of Jewish Leaders, Jews and Gentles and he introduces his messages with “You brood of vipers!”  Now that introduction will get your attention.

John goes on to offer answers to the question “What then should we do?” This is a great question for our Confirmands this morning and also for others who are linked to this community.  Here are John’s answers.

Repent so that we can be restored!
John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers!  Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Bear fruits worthy of repentance.  Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.  Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”   Luke 3:7-9

Seek economic justice for your neighbor!
And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?”  In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.”  Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?”  He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.”  Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?”  He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”   Luke 3:10-14

Recognize Christ!
As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”   Luke 3:15-17

Proclaim good news!
So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.   Luke 3:18

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“Joy is a response to Jesus!”

The Kitchen is Almost Finished!

Yes, the kitchen renovation is almost completed!  The floors are done (and wow, do they look nice!) and the new appliances are in!  Last minute details are being completed.  We’re gonna have a RECEPTION on SUNDAY, DECEMBER 16 TO CELEBRATE!  MAKE PLANS TO BE HERE!

Hope — the Promise of Paradox!

Luke 21:25-36 New International Version

What a strange and despairing moment in the text as we enter a time of preparation and anticipation of a blessed Savior called Advent.  Did someone make a mistake with this week’s lectionary reading?  Well it’s tempting to skip over this seemingly “doom and gloom” moment and move to a Scripture that is more pleasing to the ear.

However, we live in a world of paradox.  I suggest that the Christian faith is paradoxical a “both/and” when we want to make it an “either/or” faith journey.  Luke writes to challenge perspective of those reading this passage.  Be reminded that during the birth of Jesus, Jerusalem was surrounded by armies and warring.  Judgment, terrors and signs of the end times existed then and now.  The country is polarized, often reflecting either/or logic: “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.”

So paradoxical moments offer the promise of an anticipated hope.  Jesus was a baby and a Savior, delivered against an anticipated hope.  Pay attention to the signs of the times because we are in the midst of an “and/both” season!

 Suffering and Comfort!
“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.  On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.  People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.  At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”   Luke 21:25-28

Near and Not Yet!
He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees.  When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near.  Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.  Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”   Luke 21:29-33

Pray and Stand!
“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.  For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth.  Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”   Luke 21:34-36

W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“Remain hopeful because God’s kingdom is already, but not yet here!”

Anticipating our Savior!

Our Advent Sermon Series is “Anticipating Jesus Our Savior!”  As we read the biblical text in this Advent Season, we are reminded that God is about to deliver on a long-term promise of sending humanity a Savior.  Out of God’s love for humanity, God is about to deliver the world in the form of a baby and later in his second coming.  So the Israelites have been waiting with anticipation for their Savior, but not the way they expected.

And today are we anticipating Christ’s coming at any time?  What are you anticipating during this Advent (Christmas) Season?  While we are waiting and anticipating, during what has become the most secular holiday in the world, we cannot give way to the commercialization and hiddenness of Christmas.  Jesus Christ is coming!  Let’s join the Israelites as the gospel writer, Luke, tells us about the coming of Jesus Christ and let us listen with fresh ears and in hopes of a spiritual awakening.