Posted on Dec 04, 2018 by Pastor Dave Whetter
This past Monday, the body of President George H. W. Bush was flown to Washington, D.C., to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol to allow a nation to bid him farewell. Regardless of one’s politics, this week was a time for all of us to remember a life that was dedicated to service and to the welfare of this country. It was an incredible sight to see so many of our government leaders come together for a brief moment and set politics aside.
As I watched this story unfold in the news, I also was reading our text for this coming Sunday. Luke says, “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness” (Luke 3:1-2).
By naming the leaders of his day, Luke reminds us that in the midst of the realities of this world, God’s work continues. As John the Baptist began his ministry, he reminded the people that although all these political leaders claim to have your best interest in mind, there is one who is yet to come that is the true Savior.
In our world today, we are in the midst of a lot of really important things that are affecting our lives, both locally and globally. There is political arguing and posturing from the courthouse to the statehouse to the White House; economic upswings and downturns, both here and around the world; children and young adults finishing fall semesters in school; the all-important Christmas gift-buying, and trip-planning, and decorating, and church-attending, and cookie-baking, and card-mailing, to name a few.
As we enter this Season of Advent, we are challenged this week to remember that it is time to turn around and go in a different direction, or, as John would say, it is time to repent. Our leaders in Washington have apparently called a “political truce” as they take time remember and celebrate the life of our 41st president, and John says to us, it is time to “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Luke 3:4-6).
This week, whether we have realized it, or not, our secular worlds and religious worlds have once again collided, and my hope and prayer is that we might learn this week that it is time to change. It is time to stop fighting and arguing about our past ways and, instead, come together to prepare for a brighter and healthier future. It is time to go in a new direction, God’s direction, which is exactly what John means when he says to “repent!”
As we reflect on the events of the world and our nation this week and as we reflect on God’s Word that comes to us in this Gospel, may we hear those words of hope and challenge. It is time to get out of your rut. It is time to stop going in the same old circles. It is time to stop bouncing back and forth between hope and hopelessness, because the day is coming when our God will act, and that day is today!
God is coming, and, in fact, God is already here!