Summary: Second Sunday in Advent
2nd Sunday in Advent
"The World’s Only Way Out Repent"
There is a purely American art form that has been lost to the American scene over the last 20 to 15 years. It is the Circus Poster. Some of you can remember those colorful posters that were hung about a month before the circus would come to your area announcing the greatest show on earth. These posters would announce the glory, the "thrills, the glamor and the excitement of the most magical of worlds SOON to arrive for one day and one day only.
The life of the bill poster was tedious and hard work, never accompanied by applause or any sign of appreciation. Few people even noticed him at work, but when he was done, the results of his hard work were seen on barn sides, wooden fences and store windows. It was not at all his job to call attention to himself; his job was to leave a visible sign, a visible proclamation of the greater than himself that was yet to come.
The Circus was coming to town!!
So, our text for this morning from Matthew’s gospel, tells of another whose job was not to point attention to himself, but to one who was coming who was greater than I." John was not the big show, but he came to proclaim that the big show was coming.
Jesus was coming!!
Yes, this is the season to get ready, to prepare for the one who is coming. We light the Advent candles on the wreath this morning as a signal that someone is coming and we have the next weeks to get ready.
But ready for who?? Who is coming?
Beginning today and continuing the next weeks of Advent, we will answer that question, who is coming.
We will answer the question posed by our hymn of the day,"What child is this, who laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping?"
What child is this who is coming?? Does he get confused with another who is coming this season? I would imagine if we asked our children who is coming they might answer with another song that is sung during this seasons
"You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town! He knows when you’ve been sleeping, he knows when you’re awake,he knows when you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake!!"
Yes, this is the season to get ready. Ready for the Christ child in our lives. John the Baptist gives us a hint this morning about how we are to get ready for the Christ child in our lives.
John brought and still brings into our lives a message for personal repentance. This message that told people they needed, to get out of the ruts, the grooves they are in, to change, to turn around from the kind of lives they are living, to change, to make a 180 degree turn. Advent is the time for us to look at our lives, to note the changes that need to be made and then to make them.
The Greek word for repentance is metanoia. Meta means "to change or shift" and noia means "perspective." It literally means a change in the way one views things. Repentance means not only saying you’re sorry, it means you are going to genuinely change and mend your ways.
John was preaching a repentance, a change in the way things are done. Not just being sorry, but changing the way things are done by us.
"The repentance that John was preaching goes beyond making some flip comment about being "sorry". Sorry is what we are if we go to the store and bring home a loaf of pumpernickel bread when we were asked to bring home rye. The repentance that John preaches is better understood by the phrase "a contrite heart". This is a heart that finds its present condition unacceptable. A heart that seeks real and substantial change. A heart that is prepared for the coming of the Christ. This is a repentant heart for the forgiveness of sins. The question John puts before the people living in the Jordan valley and the question that people in each generation must ask is: What are those areas in our lives that need purifying? Where are the places where we have gone astray? Where the path that scripture led us was too hard to follow? Where does our indifference to injustice and oppression that others must endure stand as roadblocks to God’s rule on earth?
John’s voice comes down to us over the years. John’s voice is the stoplight in the wee hours of the morning. It is the lighthouse guarding ships from shallow waters, calling us to change our course. Calling us to prepare the way for the Christ.1"