Posted by: AJ the Irish Lass | December 10, 2017

Cleaning Our Acts Up: We All Need to Do It!

John kiev

The following is an expansion of a post originally published on 2 Advent, 2016. Enjoy!

John the Baptist, a cousin of Jesus, rightfully has a reputation as having been a bit of a firebrand. In fact, he likely was more than a bit of a firebrand. His words in Matthew 3:1-12 are far from comforting, but they weren’t intended to be.

Although these words aren’t really intended to be “gloom and doom”, they should, hopefully, make us sit up and take notice. American mainline Christians particularly often find themselves at a crossroads these days. What are we to do when confronted by these words from John the Baptist in a climate where some parts of society demand that we turn to blind eye the actions of leaders that are immoral, exploitative, or intolerant just because they claim to be “good Christians”?

Prophets weren’t known for accepting the status quo and making religious or political leaders feel good. Going as far back as the time of prophets like Isaiah, they often stood up to leaders who misused their power to oppress God’s people. Out of this tradition that looked to a coming Redeemer, we’ve learned that there is always a message of hope, even if it doesn’t come in the nice, tidy package that we prefer.

The next time a leader, political or otherwise uses their religious beliefs as a bully pulpit to harm those committed to their care, perhaps we should pause and think about what “gospel” they are actually promoting. Yes, it’s true that we don’t have prophets in the strict Biblical sense today, but the Church as a whole does have those who serve as “voices in the wilderness” today. Anyone, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Pentecostal/charismatic, churchy or unchurched, liberal or conservative, gay or straight, could be one of these “voices”.

One thing that we, as part of the human race still need to learn after all this time, is that not a single one of us is so perfect that we don’t need redemption. It doesn’t matter what your “spiritual pedigree” looks like or your station in life – all of us, from the least to the greatest, need that redemption that God alone provides. Maybe if we all kept this in mind, this world’s brokenness might not seem so bleak.

Remember this the next time anyone proclaims their need to not ask God’s forgiveness for anything. While we await the return of our Redeemer, we can do some spiritual housekeeping of sorts. Our lives are finite after all, and we never know when that final call will happen for each of us – perhaps one of the morals of this story is that the world does end for each of us when we die, regardless of when life on this planet we inhabit comes to an end.

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


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