Faithlife Sermons

Is Crying out Enough?

Christmas 2019  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  8:57
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Crying out is a good start

I love the story of John the Baptizer. Well, at least this beginning of his story I love. He’s a “larger than life” figure, who fully embraces who he is — eating locusts and wild honey, wearing camel hair and a leather belt — he couldn’t be more unique and unmistakable.
And then there’s his message — preparing the way for God — confession / repentance — and the invitation to the ritual of baptism. All things that we could easily champion.
Well, at least we could (or should) because we agree with the outcome — promoting the ministry of Jesus. I wonder if we would feel the same way if he was crying out for something else. Would we be so positive about John if we didn’t agree with his message? Is it the message or the method that we are drawn to? Maybe both.
I’m sure though that if it wasn’t both — we’d discount John just as we do others we don’t agree with — and others we don’t like the methods of.

What comes next?

Next comes more that we like — the baptism of Jesus — and his resistance to temptation. We like the baptism because it is a method of inclusion that we like — that we participated in — that is part of who we are as God’s people.
We like the fact that Jesus resists the temptations before him, because we know we don’t always resist the temptations before us — we need a hero — someone we can look up to — someone who is pure — in order to inspire us to be better.
Jesus is that — and so is John.
When we’re tempted to let things slide — to not call out — to not fully embrace who we are — to be small (rather than who we fully are) this part of John’s story calls us to do all that we can to claim who we really are.

A new beginning

We gather today on the edge of a new year — a new decade according to some — and read this story of the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. In many ways, it is a new beginning — a transition from John to Jesus — and the calling of the first disciples from what they had known to a new life.
There is so much possibility that is on the end of this reading — the chance to truly become a follower of Jesus — and to fish for people.
In order to live into that possibility — that potential — though, we need to come back not just to Jesus as our touchstone — but also to John — being willing to point to something greater than ourselves and at the same time realizing that we ourselves are great — not small — we have an important message to share — that there is something better than the hard part of this life we live — and when we can find a way to fully be ourselves, then we can help others do the same and find the greatness to which they have been called.
For that we give thanks today. Amen.
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