Advent 2 - Year A
A "budding branch sprouts from old Jesse's stump". Yes we refer to Jesus when we read this, but Isaiah's followers turn out to not be so sure. Jesus, in the line of prophets has helped us along, but look around. See any Peaceable Kingdoms? How about spots where hurt and destruction are not so obvious? Not being sure about such a budding branch seems pretty reasonable.
For the moment let's presume that a revelatory experience has convinced you that Jesus is that budding branch. As the church seems frailer and frailer, more and more stumpish, a disciple of Jesus now becomes a budding branch that can move on from that which faltered. This is more than Rethinking Church, it is transformative community.
Whether it is a wet Baptizer John or a desiccated old Jesse Stump, both look beyond the present to something coming later. You're a late arrival, even if not the latest, and it is time to judge the traditions that have come down to us, winnow them, and begin being fruitful by adding some new fiery Holy Holly Spirit manure to past understandings that still have a sense of expansive and expanding love in them. It is also time to be ready for more than contemporizing tradition - to be ready for a new incarnation that may include you.
Stand up. Signal. A Merciful Glory nears.