Saturday, December 10, 2016
by Dana Young
When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”
As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
What is the world waiting for?
As a nation, we are dealing with issues of political tension, racial division and social oppression that mirror some of what the Jews experienced by the Romans during Jesus’s time. Like Jesus and the people of Israel, we seek lasting peace, healing, justice, and reconciliation for our nation and communities. As Christians, we urge our political leaders and elected officials to make fair and just choices. Yet we also know we can’t rely on their promises of change to be lasting, as human laws and actions are not eternal in nature.
Jesus delivers a new kind of message of freedom – one that transcends all that we know and understand of our human experience. It is an invitation offering profoundly good news of healing and wholeness for all. His message promises different ways of seeing, hearing, and being in the world and with each other. Like John the Baptist, we can scarcely believe that one has come who promises God’s eternal kingdom of hope, joy, peace and love on Earth as it is in Heaven.
What do we do while we wait?
Waiting brings both anticipation and anxiety. We forget that our darkest times are before the light returns. As we hold space during this time of uncertainty, we can pray for the coming of Christ and God’s shalom. We can also reflect upon and live into the promises of the Advent season. Let us be hopeful for the future, joyful for God’s presence, while offering peace and love to our brothers and sisters.
Jesus, we await your arrival like the dawning of a new day. Help us to move through the Advent season with your hope, joy, peace and love in our hearts and minds. Amen.