Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Sermon 12/16/12

In today's gospel, John comes out of the desert and he has a lot to say. But, in fact, what he demands is rather simple. There is no safety in being one of the chosen people, he says. Everyone is individually responsible. He asks that people be kind to one another, to share, to avoid abusing their positions. To the soldier he says, "Be content with your pay."

Be content with your pay?

John is the first interface of a collision of worlds. He is preceding Christ in his message of the importance of spirituality over the mundane. Yet his solution to this problem, this difficulty of managing spiritual demands in the physical, working world is indeed mundane. Be kind to one another. Do not take advantage of circumstances. Share. These simple things--things every individual can do--are the physical world's bridge to God. It is not as people you will be judged, it is as yourself.

John's life and death traces Christ's. He comes out of the desert, lives a spiritual life outside the world of men, preaches repentance and salvation, is imprisoned and murdered for provincial reasons. It is said that great drama is heightened by parallel themes. They reverberate and summate.  Laertes haunts Hamlet; he too is a tortured son trying to avenge the murder of his father. So it is with John. And recently, with the slaughter of the innocents in Connecticut. There is evil in the world, often it is beyond our ken or control. And there is great power in the individual, for ill but also for good.

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