Third Sunday of Advent
The First and Second Sundays of Advent asked us how and for whom we are creating spaces to wait for what we have already seen, the coming of Christ. Contrary to our common understanding of waiting, Advent waiting, Jesus waiting, is anything but passive. Maybe we read John the Baptist’s challenging words in Luke’s Gospel today and lose heart, wondering, How can we “bear fruit worthy of repentance”? How does our activity—in this waiting season—measure up?
The crowds seemed to be faced with the same anxiety as they asked John, “What then should we do?”
As you read John’s responses in Luke 3:11–14, think of the Lord’s Prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread.” Every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we are instructed to ask not for a year’s supply of bread or enough bread to fill our pantries. We are reminded to pray for enough: enough bread, enough hope, and enough God to get us through this day. And for those who do not have enough, we are to give of our excess. John says that is how we bear fruit worthy of God; to make sure that all have enough: enough coats, enough food, enough funds (don’t exhort or steal), and so forth.
The passage for this Sunday ends with verse 18: “John proclaimed the good news to the people.” This is really the good news: that we can all prepare for God’s kingdom by working toward a world where everyone has enough. It is simple and yet challenging—as the gospel often is. How do we wait for Christ by making sure that everyone in the waiting room has their daily bread (and housing, healthcare, security, etc.)?
Janel Rice, pastor, Calvary Moravian Church