Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Advent 3 John & Jesus Matthew 11

Matthew 11:1-11

John – Jesus – see – go – disciples are today's Big Five words.

John is about “making a straight path for the Lord”.
When you start moving earth you find that there is a awful of of earth to move.
Many of our canals and railways take a scenic route – not from a concern for natural beauty but because the Lord of the Manor didn't want riff-raff looking over his house or garden. We sometimes do this for SSI sites – but if the need is urgent enough.... HS2 anyone?

Do we want a straight path for the Lord to come into our Church? Or do we want him to take the scenic route? What do we want this Advent: challenge or comfort?
Challenge? Really? Don't I have enough challenges going on in my life, work, relationship, family, finances, health, housing, cell, church......?

“Comfort Food” - what is it for you? Bread and Butter pudding? Lamb stew and dumplings? Spag Bol? Chocolate? It’s good and solid and undemanding. It takes you back to Granny’s fireside, to a time when life was simpler and you had no responsibilities. Those were the days. These are not those days!

Christmas can be spiritual “comfort food” too. The right menu, the family tradition, the familiar stories – these can happen at Christmas Dinner – but also in Church. Memories of Nativities past, Carols sung, Descants leaned. The right 9 lessons. The sweets and poppers on the pews. You know where you are with Christmas. Start, Manger, Animals, Angels, Shepherds, Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. A young woman peacefully holding a baby. Peace on Earth. Goodwill to all. It's the scenic route. But Christmas starts with Christ. The anointed one. Set apart for battle, for confrontation, for death and resurrection. That's the straight road.

John the Baptist. What are you looking for?
A Reed? Are you looking for someone who will adapt what they say to what you want to hear? John refused. So did Jesus. He will not bend to accommodate you. Society may want a gentle Jesus who comes in humility and lives a life of love and peace until cruelly snuffed out by the powerful. But that's not Jesus.
A Dandy? Are you looking for someone who is primarily interested in appearance, comfort and reputation? John lived in the desert and dressed in camel hair. Jesus was an itinerant preacher with no place to lay his head. Your appearance , comfort and reputation are of little concern to Him. Your eternal life is.

A Prophet? Are you looking for someone who will be uncomfortable, disagreeable, provocative, challenging? Who will bring God into places where you were not looking for him – your workplace, family, relationship, finances, internet browser, future? John upset people in authority – and died because of it. Jesus upset people in authority and dies because of it. What are you going to do if he upsets you?

What is there in Advent to bring God into places where you were not looking for him?John – Jesus – see – disciples – go are today's Big Five
Look at John. Look again at Jesus. Really see who they are, what they wopuld ay or do and, if you are a disciple.
In our world, in our nations, in our church, eschew the scenic route.

Make a straight path for the Lord.

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