Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Today’s text

Matthew 3:5-9

Then Jerusalem and all Judaea and the whole Jordan district made their way to him [John the Baptist], and as they were baptized by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. But when he saw a number of Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism he said to them, 'Brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming retribution? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance, and do not presume to tell yourselves, "We have Abraham as our father," because, I tell you, God can raise children for Abraham from these stones.


Come as you are, beyond all presumption. That’s what I hear, and it’s a good word, one I need.

The day arrives, and I see opportunities that promise growth and goodness, but a sinking feeling wafts through me as my mind enters the possibilities. Entering the future I perceive means more work, more dedication, more than time or energy allows.

Quickly, I am cast back upon my limitations, knowing the strength of my abilities and will are not up to the tasks that I see as most crucial. I need help. I cannot stand alone. Others must stand with me.

This makes me part of a crowd to which I want to belong, the crowd of faceless and nameless souls who made their way to John and Baptist to confess their sins, their failures of will, nerve and goodness.

He did not refuse them. No shaming tone colored his voice as they came. We are told nothing of what he said to them, only that he received them willingly with acceptance, it appears. And he baptized them as a sign of their desire to change and be more fully given to God’s dream for their lives.

He thundered no anger or denunciation upon them. That was reserved for the entitled and presumptuous, those who imagined they didn’t need what John offered.

But what is that, and why does it still draw … me?

John called people to stand in the river shallows beside him, without or fear or shame. He invited them to put away all arrogance or presumption that they had life figured out or that they were any but human and needy.

Through John’s bluster and demand, a deep whisper echoes. “Come, bring what you are, your weakness and need, your failed attempts to fulfill the promise of your humanity. Come stand with me. There is a place for you here, and you will never be cast out.

“Come and taste the rule of heaven.”

Pr. David L. Miller

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