Donald R. Elly, M. Div.
John the Baptist, quoting Isaiah, has announced that God is doing something new that is unimaginable despite the political power of the Roman empire, who with the religious leaders of the Temple oppress the people. John using the stirring words of the Prophet Isaiah declares that God is using him to prepare the way of the Lord. “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight… and all flesh shall see the salvation of the God.’“
Luke’s evidence for this is to see how those who have been exploited by the power—the crowds and those exploiting–soldiers and tax collectors —are hearing John’s call for change, being baptized asking, “What then should we do?” It seems unimaginable then that God is using Mary (a teenage unwed mother), Zachariah, Elizabeth and Shepherds to turn the world upside down. But this is what Luke describes as Good News that comes as the light in darkness.
Now if we are honest, living as we do in age of immediate communication of every disaster and social media that feeds on the negative quickly highlighting every human failure, change seems unimaginable. Luke whose Gospel highlights the acts of the powerless as a witness to God at work is quite dramatic. Could it be that the chief ways through which we can witness to God’s coming now and in the future is to live like it’s here, like we believe it coming, like we think it actually matters, writes David Lose.
1 Go back and read Luke’s description of what those who are oppressed and oppressing are to do after baptism and repentance. Repentance is not just saying we believe God is acting in Jesus but trusting that because God is giving birth through Jesus to a new community, God will use ordinary people like you and me. What would it look like if we went out from worship, prayer and our devotional time committed to being honest, kind, hardworking and trusting God is at work through us? Lord, thank you for imagination!
1 David Lose, “Ordinary Saints”, http://www.davidlose.net/2015/12.advent-3, pgs.1-3
December 16, 2018; Cycle C; Third Sunday of Advent
Zeph. 3:4-20; Isaiah 40:3-5; Phil. 4:4-9 *Luke 3:7-18