Friday, December 15, 2006

Third Sunday of Advent - C4

Year C
Luke 3:7-18

A brood of vipers has a nasty ring to it. However, what is at stake here are issues of growth, not strength of venom.

Religious traditions are consistently attempting to mold people into their shape and size ("their" here is the mold the tradition has become, not the "mold" of what the people might yet become). Religious reformers are usually quite clear about the changes people need to make to measure up to their standards. Therefore they are constantly calling for skin changes and, it turns out, no state of being is quite good enough.

Having seen that there are consequences for actions, an easy response is to change religions, skins, to molt.

John doesn't spend a moment on skin changes - that we are to wait for the right appearance, more room for accumulation of resources, or other criteria before paying attention to justice issues. Who warned the crowd to come out to John and get changed? John ultimately doesn't care, he dives right into what is available in the stage of life currently available - "bear fruits".

Well, asks the crowd, if we are not here to get an acceptable molt or maintenance oil change, "What then should we do?"

Simple kindness and everyday justice, is John's response. He uses economic justice examples, but it boils down to human values we were created with, that are available to be expressed in our current life. Economic justice is a worthy fruit.

= = = = = = =

we came with high expectation
we just need to bow before Procrustes
we will become the acceptable size
we will find standards
we will solve today by focusing on tomorrow

John dashes the expectation

we are changing to a new high expectation
we just need to bow before John
we will have needed power
we fill find ease
we will solve today by focusing on John

John dashes the expectation

we are left waiting without expectation
we just need to be kind and just
we will be open to a change of heart
we will find assurance
we will solve today by focusing on today

John affirms this message of good news for the poor

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